June 26, 2012

Wonderful News!

So, last night before bed I was reading my usual blogs and, of course, one of the first blogs I look at is my friend, Britta's.  I saw that she had been nominated for the Liebster Award, which was I was thrilled about, because she definitely deserves it!!

As I continued reading I was pleasantly surprised that she had nominated ME for the Liebster Award!!!! How cool is that? My very first award! I was so shocked and just so happy that she thought of me! 

I began blogging on Canada Day 2011 (it is almost my first blogiversary - exciting!) as a way to express and share my love and passion for healthy living in a creative way.  I have enjoyed each and every minute of blogging and all of the wonderful people I have met in this fabulous virtual world!  It is so amazing to read your inspiring blogs each and every day and learn a little bit more about your wonderful selves! You are all so inspiring to me and my blog, which I hold very close to my heart.  In the Bean Thyme wouldn't be what it is today without you.  To my (very few) readers, thank you for your support and kind words! I look forward to getting to know you as time goes on :)

One of the most exciting parts of receiving this sweet ass  lovely award is that I get to share the love with 5 of my fav. bloggers :) Here are the rules for the Liebster Blog Award: 
1. Thank and add a link to the blogger who gave you the award. A HUGE shout out to my other pea in the pod, Britta! You are absolutely wonderful for nominating me for this award! I am so shocked, honoured and sorta flipping out...in a good, totally awesome way of course :)  I so enjoy reading your blog and am excited for what the future holds for us both :)
2. Copy and Paste the award in your post.  Done and done!
3. Pick 5 other blogs with less than 200 followers to award. Leave a comment on their blog to let them know about their nominations. This is super hard because, as Britta explained, there are SOOOO many amazing blogs to choose from.  But here are 5 blogs that I feel are SOOO deserving of this fabulous award :)
1. Food Ally Eats - My friend, Ally and I started our blogs around the same time, so I think we will always have that blog love connection!  Ally loves food and chooses to share her delicious meals through the lens of her camera phone (which actually takes fab pictures) and accompanies them with her witty writing, which allows her personality to shine through.  Whether she is out at a restaurant, at school, or at her cute little apartment, Ally is always putting something delicious into her tummy!  I really enjoy reading her blog and hope that she continues with it for a very long time :) CHECK IT OUT!!!!
2. Sunshine Meets Happiness - Katie's blog is full of absolutely wonderful photography of delicious food as well as extremely healthy recipes and some sinfully delicious treats.  She focuses on living a happy and balanced life!!  I absolutely love her blog and it is extremely inspirational!  I encourage all of my readers to check it out :)

3. How to Ice a Cake - Adrienne's blog is just plain lovely!  I feel like we share an interest in many different things, such as our love for delicious food, learning new skills in the kitchen, photography anddddd watching re-runs of the office and still laughing our bums off.  I love checking our her daily posts.  Each and every post includes completely drool worthy recipes and photography and I absolutely love it!  She is very passionate about food and her blog and it shows! Again, check it out :)

4. A Better Life With Burgers - Julie's blog is an absolutely fabulous documentation of her passion for healthy living, including eating delicious, nutritious food and exercising.  I feel like her and I have a lot in common, as we both have a love for healthy living and careers in teaching and I look forward to continuing to read her blog and watching it flourish, as I'm sure it will :)  Check out her blog!

5. Red Bike in a Grey World - I know she is the one who nominated me, and that she can't receive the award again, but I don't really care :) I thought I would take this chance to write a little something about her and her blog that I love so much!  Britta has become such a good virtual friend (this makes me laugh :P - we are such nerds!) that I text almost everyday about running or some awesome food that I've eaten and she does the same!  Although she says I inspired her to write a blog (I can't tell you how flattered I am by this) she needs to know how much she inspires me.  I think we make a pretty killer team if I do say so myself ;)  It is so nice to have that kind of support and I can't wait to see what the future holds for us!  Hopefully we will live in the same city one day and be besties ;)

So there you have it folks...5 of my favourite blogs that are definitely worthy of this fantastic award :) I would like to apologize in advance if any of these bloggers have more than 200 followers...I had a difficult time telling if they did or not.  If you do, very sorry...but that doesn't change the fact that I love your blog, so you are still very deserving of the award :)

Hope you all have a wonderful Tuesday and spread a little bit of love today!

June 23, 2012

Cupcake Baking Frenzy

Rewind 24 hours or so to last night's dinner... I ripped up some organic kale, and gave it a little love rub with avocado.  In other words...you massage the avocado into the kale so that the kale softens.  Any kind of oil tenderizes kale and makes it easier to eat and digest.  I sprinkled it with sea salt, let it sit for 10 minutes or so and topped it with leftover quinoa from the night before.

It was absolutely delicious and really satisfying!

All right, let's get back to my day and the highlight, which could be summed up in one word - Cupcakes! And we all know that any day full of cupcakes is a good day!  My dad has his annual karate car wash, garage sale, bake sale and BBQ tomorrow, so I thought it was a great time to whip up some treats for the customers waiting for their cars to be rubbed with dirty, sandy water washed by some kiddo's!

I have been drooling over Courtney's blog and cupcakes for over a year and have never tried them out. Why? I have no idea...so I figured today was a great day to experiment!

I decided on two different kinds.  Her infamous Neapolitan Cupcakes and Orange Cream Soda Pop Cupcakes! For the full recipes, visit her wonderful blog!  I assure you it will be 2 hours  10 minutes well spent!

The Neapolitan Cupcakes were up first.

To make it easier on myself I decided not to make the batter from scratch and use a white cake mix instead.  I followed the instructions on the box, just as Courtney advises, divided them equally into 3 different bowls.  This is the vanilla layer.

Here is the strawberry layer, with strawberry jam!

Chocolate layer with melted semi sweet chocolate chips and cocoa powder.

I put down about 1 heaping tablespoon of the strawberry mixture first...

then came the chocolate...

and then of course the vanilla....

popped in the oven at 350 for 16 minutes and voila!

these babies smelled amazing...just like cupcake/ice cream.

I made a batch of her ice cream icing - yeah, you heard me right - and dyed half light pink and left the other white.  I put half white and pink in the pastry bag and piped it on hoping it would create a swirled effect.  I guess it sort of worked.  

Maybe if I dye the icing a little darker pink next time!

Topped with a fresh raspberry and popped in the fridge ready to go for the morning!

Oh, they are just so pretty!

Next up - Orange Cream Soda Pop Cupcakes!

All of the ingredients put into a bowl and mixed with an electric mixer until well combined!

Put in 24 + muffin tins, baked at 350 for 15 minutes and voila!

Perfect cupcakes!

topped off with the more flavourful, orange icing that you must make asap!  I added about 1 tsp more of grated orange zest to really zest it up!

These really taste like an orange creamsicle!  Seriously so good!

Now go ahead and find any excuse to make either of these.  Your friends/family/colleagues will love ya for it! Promise :)



June 22, 2012

Rainy Day Lunch Date

I hope everyone is enjoying their Thursday! I know I sure am, although it got off to a kind of funny start.  I got up around 8:45 and thought "wow, I slept in" which I was actually quite happy about since I can't normally sleep in too late.  I walked into the kitchen, where my mom and dad are usually having coffee and tea, but they were nowhere to be found.  They were still sleeping!  Little did I know that I had somehow changed my clock so that it was 1 hour ahead - how? I do not know... I think it takes some serious talent, so I guess some would say that I'm just super talented ;)

After I realized what was actually going on, I whipped up a quick breakfast, which I happily enjoyed in bed!

I had a delicious bowl of oikos 2 % greek yogurt, bran buds, mango, blueberries and banana!

It was quite the bowl of goodness!

Check out those beautiful colours...
After laying in bed for an hour and a half, surfing the web (do the cool kids still say this? I bet they do...i'm so happenin') I got my running clothes on and headed out for a run!  My dad accompanied me on his bike for my 10 k run and it was so nice to have him to keep me company.  The weather wasn't too shabby either! 15*C...although the humidity was definitely noticeable.  I'm not going to complain though, considering the weather Toronto has been having and the trouble some people are having trying to get for their runs *cough* *cough* Britta *cough* *cough*

When I got home I downed a delicious peach mango Steaz iced teaz, which is an all natural green tea, sweetened with all natural stevia!  They are super good!

Check out that dent at the top...I know what you're thinking..."Wow! Amy is SUPER strong...
she's SO hardcore!" I hate to break it to ya...but I bought the can like this... I guess I'm not that strong after all...
Okay, enough sarcasm for today...moving on...

After getting ready in a record time of 3 minutes...not even kidding...My mom, dad and I picked up my Oma and headed to Courtenay for lunch at one of my favourite restaurants, Atlas Cafe.  

My mom and I started the party with a glass of the wine, which was on special.  It was a Lake Breeze Rose and was extremely flavourful!  The glass was chilled as well, which was a very nice touch.  I drank about half of this and realized I wasn't in the mood for wine so I passed it onto my mom!

To start off my meal, my mom, dad and I ordered the soup.  It was a carrot, cumin and fennel soup.  Warm, flavourful and full and the earthy spice, cumin.  The only thing downside was that we couldn't really taste the fennel, which was a bummer considering I am a huge fennel fan.  All in all though it was fantastic!

My mom's main meal was the warm beet and goat cheese salad.  The cheese was infused with basil, and melted on top of the warm beets to make a kind of sauce, which infused each and every bite.  It also had roasted potatoes and was drizzled in a balsamic vinegar and olive oil.  My mom said this dish didn't have too much of anything.  It had just enough cheese, dressing...everything really, which is great considering there is nothing worse than having your salad drowning in dressing (this is why I like to order my dressing on the side).  She also said that this is one of the most flavourful meals she has had in a very long time, and I have to agree.  I will definitely order this the next time I am there!

My dad and oma ordered the enchiladas, which the Atlas is known for.  This is what I normally always order because it is always absolutely phenomenal.  They fill a curry wrap with black beans, vegetables and cheese and top it with a house made spiced creme, fire roasted rice and tomato sauce.  IT IS SO GOOD!  The best part? It is so big that I can only ever eat a half, so there are always leftovers!  You definitely get a lot for your money at this place and the quality is always top notch.  I have never had a bad meal in all the years I have been going there!  If you are in the area, this definitely a spot to check out!

For the second half of my lunch I had a small greek salad and it's safe to say it is the best greek salad I have ever had.  The balsamic vinegar is house made and goes perfectly with the salad, the veggies are fresh and the feta cheese is grated so you get a little bit with each bite!

We ended out meal with soy latte's, although after a few sips I had to stop drinking it...I normally LOVE their latte's and get them as a treat, however, this was way too strong and undrinkable. Oh well, maybe next time :)

Nobody really wanted dessert, but my mom ordered the carrot cake for us all to try.  It was definitely house made with a cream cheese icing, topped with nutmeg.  Moist and creamy!  I had about 3 bites to satisfy my sweet tooth!

All in all it was a fantastic lunch, shared with some lovely people.  This restaurant also has a sister restaurant called Avenue Bistro, which I haven't tried yet, but plan to in the very near future!  In the mean time I am going to drool over their website...

This afternoon I plan on relaxing indoors (it is raining cats and dogs out there - in the summer...I know, lame) sipping on a little bit of this...

and then probably switching to tea later on...it's just how I roll ;)

Enjoy your Thursday!


Scentilentil Journey

As promised, here is the recipe for Scentilentil Journey, from the Loonyspoons Collection cookbook by Janet and Greta.


1/2 cup reduced fat sour cream or plain greek yogurt
1/2 tsp curry powder
1 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup chopped onion 

3 cups sliced mushrooms
1 1/2 chopped carrots
4 cups vegetable broth
1 cup dried red lentils
1 cup dried quinoa
3 tsp ginger root
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp tumeric
1 1/2 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp ground pepper and salt
2-3 cups chopped spinach
1/2 cup chopped green onion


1) In a small bowl, mix sour cream and curry powder together and put in the fridge until ready to use.
2) In a large saucepan, heat olive oil, add garlic, onion, mushrooms and carrots.  Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring often until veggies are softened.
3) Add broth, lentils, quinoa, ginger root, cumin, tumeric, coriander and pepper.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and let simmer for 20 minutes stirring occasionally.  
4) Stir in spinach and add green onions.  Cover and simmer for 3-4 minutes, until quinoa and lentils are tender.  Remove from heat and serve immediately.

Serve with a dollop of sour cream mixture on top!


June 19, 2012

Whitewater Granola Bars

Yesterday morning I woke up and made a delicious green monster for breakfast.  Coconut milk, kefir, greek yogurt, frozen raspberries, half a banana and 2 cups of spinach.

Blended up until smooth!  Unfortunately red and green don't make the prettiest colour, but I assure you that this was absolutely delish! Tart, with a hint of sweetness.

bran buds on the side!  Gotta get in my daily fibre :)

Enjoyed on my parents sun deck in the beautiful morning sun.


This morning I had planned on going for a run bright and early - before breakfast - but I couldn't seem to wake up, which is quite unusual for me - being an early bird and all.  So, I decided to give myself some time to wake up and have some breakfast first, hoping it would perk me up a bit.  I made myself a bowl of greek yogurt with local strawberries, banana and bran buds.

 It was oh so good.  After breakfast and a couple hours of digesting...I headed out for my run.  My mom biked along side me, which was awesome! I love when people come along with me :) It's so much fun!  I covered 9 km, which included some fartleks and it was great!  It took me awhile to warm up, again, because I just felt really tired this morning, but after awhile it felt great!  Stopped to snack on salmon berries along the way!

Later on in the afternoon, my mom and I made some absolutely delicious granola bars, a recipe she found in her Whitewater Cooks cookbook.  She has made them once before, but she changed up this recipe a little bit and it was for the better I think.  Not to say that the others weren't good - they were UNREAL - but I preferred this recipe because it included almonds and I really LOVE almonds :) Texture, flavour, just everything.  These bars are definitely easily adapted to your dietary needs and could be "healthed" up a bit for sure, but why mess with a good thing, right? Unless you have to of course!  Now, I know some of the things in the ingredient list may seen like a lot, such as the butter and corn syrup, but remember, this recipe makes 2 HUGE lasagna pans of bars.  That is probably about 30 granola bars, so it really isn't as much as you'd think.

Whitewater Granola Bars


1 cup butter
1 1/2 cups peanut butter
1 1/2 tsp vanilla (or if using almond extract, omit this and
add 1 tsp of almond extract)
2 cups brown sugar
1 cup corn syrup
6 cups oats
1 cup toasted coconut
1 cup toasted sliced almonds
1 cup toasted sesame seeds
2 cups chocolate chips (or 1 cup chocolate chips and 1 cup raisins 
I prefer it this way - I love the chew of raisins)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a skillet, toast the almonds, sesame seeds and coconut.  

Take out of pan, put aside to cool.

In a separate bowl, cream together butter, brown sugar and peanut butter...

until nice and smooth.

Add corn syrup and mix well.

Add in vanilla extract or almond extract.

Add in remaining ingredients.

Mix well.

Pour mixture into 2 well greased 9 by 13 lasagna pans.

Once mixture is in the pan, press down mixture until firm.

Helpful hint: Wet a large metal spoon and use the back of it to press down the sticky mixture.  This keeps it from sticking to the spoon.

Cook for 20 minutes.  Remove from oven and allow to cool before cutting.

I swear these are the best granola bars I have ever had, hands down.  That's saying a lot considering I do love my Luna Bars, Cliff Bars, Lara Bars...well....you get the picture.  These bars have so many different textures and flavours with a hint of sweetness and chew.  Absolutely perfect in my books.

Stay tuned for tomorrow's post - I will be giving you an amazing recipe called Scentilentil Journey -talk about a cute name right? -  from the Looneyspoons Collection cookbook.  Trust me, you don't wanna miss it!