We are two individuals, sister-in-laws, and friends who are striving to thrive and be our personal best as well as making our surroundings a better place to live! Connected by faith, family, friendship, photos, and writing, we just want to share our journey with you!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Our Family of Three will be a Family of Four!!!

I know, I know!!! I said that I was 'back' and then where did I go?!!! Well it just so happens that my husband and I found out a few weeks ago that we will be having our second child!!!! Yes, that's right! Not only have we been consumed with many emotions, but I have been consumed with extreme nausea!!! So you can understand that blogging about food and my high levels of energy isn't the first thing that comes to mind when battling the crazy hormones and nausea that can consume a woman in her first trimester! Some women experience these symptoms while others are very lucky not too! I think pregnancy is a beautiful, wonderful thing...I love being a mother to Noah and if I didn't have to go through pregnancy I would have a big family! I dreamed of what it would be like to be pregnant and for many women, it's a time where they feel their happiest and most beautiful...for me, it's just not! I don't want to scare off anyone because each woman has a very different experience with pregnancy! I love the final product!!! I love being a mother and obviously love it enough to do it again (and probably I will do it again once more), but I just feel awful when I am pregnant!!!!
With that being said, I know that this nausea will come to an end and I am banking on that! I went for a beautiful morning run earlier today and it was just what I needed! I felt like ME again!!! With my first pregnancy, I felt really nauseated in the evenings but this time around, the nausea is quite overwhelming all day long! I have found however, that I feel almost like myself for a short gap in the morning! Thankfully, Dan was home earlier today so that I could go for a much-needed run! I felt strong, fresh and happy again! It's so important when you're consumed with sickness, whether it be pregnancy or anything really, to find that little light at the end of the tunnel! I keep reminding myself when I feel so terrible that I am creating a beautiful baby and soul within me and that this feeling will pass and I will feel like ME again!
One thing that I have found is that pregnancy, is for me a time of reflection. I have noticed that I battle these little fears that are silly but I must share them with you bloggers and readers because it's honesty that opens our souls and let's us feel free!!! I have these little fears such as "will I ever get my pre-pregnancy body back?"...and "I don't want to become 'let go'..."....and "am I gaining too much too fast?"...and "Will I ever feel sexy again"....hahaha...see??!! We ALL have silly little insecurities that creep upon us and they can become something big if we don't acknowledge them...so I am being really open and honest...I am having these feelings!!!! But, I have acknowledged, addressed them and now I am putting them away and my goal is to enjoy this pregnancy (once the nausea leaves me), and I am going to search for balance! I want to maintain my fitness regime as much as possible, but I also want to take my breaks (sometimes they seem few and far between), to RELAX and enjoy the moment because Lord knows, two will be busier than one!!!!
So I will blog about food...yes I will! Be prepared...I'm sure that cravings will run through me like a savage beast soon...but right now instead of cravings, I am experiencing quite the opposite...almost everything that I have ever loved (such as berries, granola, salads, smoothies, fruit, cucumber), is off-limits as it will send me running!!!! Instead, I have to settle for (get ready for this mouth-watering food list), toast (blah), oatmeal (with no fruit or sweet loveliness), and bland, boring foods!!!!! So really, who wants to read a blog about how to make the blandest of the bland food?!!! So I promise that more exciting recipes will ensue once I am feeling more like ME again!!!!

Where I spend most of my day....jk....but where I FEEL like spending most of my days!!! I found Noah 'cleaning' our toilet the other morning....BAH! If only I can get him to do this when he's older!!!!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Will the male veggies please stand up?

Random thought of the day. I was going through my orientation at my new job (as a youth care worker in a group home). We were going through the kitchen and he asked me if I was a vegetarian (which I responded... kind of?) and he said said "yah, with the girls who are vegetarian, they mostly bring their own meals". I realized that most people who aren't vegetarians/vegans often assume it's mostly girls who are. I'm not saying it's a horrible thing, or it's something we don't or haven't done ourselves, but it's an interesting observation.

Another observation is that a lot of people have certain views of vegetarians/vegans... have you ever noticed that? If I ever talk about my blog or about trying to be a veggie/vegan a lot of people kind of look at you like you're crazy... or you're one of 'those' people. Ha ha, well I didn't have anywhere to go with this, I just thought it was interesting.

So... will all the men out there please.... pretty please... stand up?

Have a great day everyone! I'm going to make some of that delicious peanut butter/tofu/stifry/soba noodle dish that Jay posted about a long time ago! Mmm :)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Warm Lentil Salad

Well... I promised all of you (and myself ha ha) that I would try my hand at more cooking recipes when I had the chance! I thought it would be a good day for me to pitch in. I went shopping and then made some dinner. I made the staple Cranberry Quinoa salad (recipe was posted a long long time ago)... such an easy dish and possibly one of my most faves! I scoured one of my recipe books for an easy, unique dish that I had most of the ingredients for (since my mom was in Vancouver I really had no one to direct my cooking questions too... so this was a big challenge for me). This recipe says the salad is best warm, but also great cold (I served it warm)...

Warm Lentil Salad
*oil-free, wheat-free, soy-free
(from The Vegan Table by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau)

1 1/4 cups small French lentils du Puy (or brown lentils if others aren't available)
3 1/4 cups vegetable stock
2 sprigs of fresh thyme or 1 tsp dried (I used dried)
2 bay leaves
2 Tbsp water, for sauteing
1 yellow onion, coarsely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf or curly Italian parsley

-Combine lentils, stock, thyme, and bay leaves in a medium-size saucepan and simmer over low-medium heat until lentils are tender (about 45 min... check after 30 min to make sure water hasn't evaporated)
-Remove from heat, drain liquid and discard bay leaves... transfer to a mixing bowl (the rest of the ingredients can be added while cool or warm)
-Sautee onion and carrots over medium heat and stir into lentils
-Stir in vinegar, mustard and parsley
-Serve warm or cold!

Makes 8 servings

Per serving:
188 calories
2 g fat
12 g protein
32 g carbohydrate
12 g dietary fiber
0 mg cholesterol
719 mg sodium

Notes: This dish was so delicious, it has a very unique mustard/vinegar taste that sets it apart from a lot of other bean/lentil dishes. I think next time I will add more than double the amount of lentils to the same amount of vinegar/mustard (great flavour, but maybe too many for the amount of lentils). Otherwise... delish!

Mmm... quinoa... and cranberries :)


Sunday, September 19, 2010

Carrot Zucchini Apple Muffins!

I've always been a big fan of muffins... chocolate chip banana... chocolate chip banana... mmm. Ha ha, well I was in the mood to try something new and different. I've never really had too many of the 'breakfast/feel healthier' type of muffins and I definitely have never made them. I have so many recipes for them, so it was the perfect thing to try on a cold 'winter' (yes it feels like winter over here in winterpeg... ok well not winter, but definitely a cool fall) day. I found a recipe that was pretty simple and with ingredients I mostly had (I didn't have too much time and didn't want to completely screw them up). I found this recipe in the Winnipeg Free Press quite a while ago (and actually kept it and then found it when needed? when does that happen?). It wasn't a vegan recipe, but very easily adaptable to one (I used nondairy milk instead of skim milk and egg replacer instead of egg... I would have used flax seeds/water for egg, but the recipe already called for flax seeds!). Here it goes!

Carrot Zucchini Apple Muffins

Makes: 12 medium-sized muffins

1 eggs worth of egg replacer
2 Tbsp canola oil
1/2 cup nondairy milk (used unsweetened vanilla almond breeze... it's the only thing I ever have!)
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
1/4 cup ground flax seed
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 cup diced, peeled apple
1/4 cup grated carrot
1/2 cup grated zucchini (I probably used 3/4-1 cup)

-Beat 'egg' lightly in a large bowl and then add oil, nondairy milk, brown sugar and vanilla and mix well
-In another bowl, mix the flour, flax seed, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg together and then add to egg mixture (stir just until combined)
-Stir in apple, carrot and zucchini
-Spoon into 10 paper lined medium muffin cups filling almost to top
-Bake at 400 F for 18 to 20 minutes or until firm to touch

These were very delicious. I think one thing I would change would be the baking time. Although I took mine (exactly 12 muffins) out at 21 minutes and they were definitely firm to touch they seemed to be not baked as much as I would like. They were 'done', but a little 'chewy'? I would bake them a few more minutes and instead of going until firm to touch, I would wait until they are browned on top (not just light brown, but crisp brown). I think this would put them just over the top! They are a great, healthy feeling muffin (although I would like to try to replace the brown sugar fully or partially with something else... I think agave would make the dough too liquid, but maybe sucanat or something else?) and they aren't too large for a nice snack!


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

A Versatile Dressing to Die For!!!

I know, I know! It's been a really scarce consistency of blogs these past few months but I am determined to get back on track! After all, I've been eating amazing food, seeing beautiful places and just having a really fun adventure which I want to share with you!
My hubby has started med-school and I'm finally falling into the swing of our newly changed routine! We are all enjoying the adventure that Vancouver brings and I have found that there is a great sense of community in our neighbourhood which is so great and exciting! I have been preparing a lot of amazing meals and eating really clean and beautiful! It was my birthday this past weekend and we did indulge in some vegan chocolate cake and tapas while out with friends! So delicious though!!!

I am a huge fan of making my own salad dressing. In fact, I never buy store-bought dressing anymore...until a couple of weeks ago when I was driving up to Whistler with Noah to meet Dan and stopped at Whole Foods to stock up on food that I could easily whip up in the hotel! I had researched and found that there were not a lot of vegan options up in Whistler and wanted to bring up healthy (and cheaper) vegetables, fruit, granola, etc....just so that we had easily accessible options! I have been craving salads with avocado, broccoli sprouts, spinach, bok choy, sweet potato (really any vegetable I have lying around I will use), so I really wanted to bring up veggies to make salads in Whistler. I didn't have time since I was travelling solo with a toddler and a dog to whip up my own homemade dressing so I browsed the produce section of Whole Foods. I wasn't going to have any dressing because I really don't think that it's necessary if you have the creamy textures of an avocado...but this beautiful glass bottle of dressing caught my eye (pictured above)...I was doubtful but since I have found that the quality of many products carried by Whole Foods is great, I found my hand reaching for this bottle (which ironically happened to have been made in Whistler)!! The salad dressing flavor that tantalized my taste-buds was the Basil Pesto Vinaigrette but I assure you there were many equally enticing flavours! The dressing company is called Whistler Cooks Catering and I was impressed by how few ingredients there really were! The company is a catering company which also sells these amazing freshly made salad dressings! If you want to check-out their website to find a list of the stores where you can buy these dressings (or to be inspired to make your own inspired from their dressings), you can check them out at the following website: http://whistlercooks.com/whistler-catering/index.php
Although the catering company is definitely not vegan-friendly, I found that most of the dressings are! YAY!

I only bought that flavour in particular because I was going to Whistler. Not only did Dan and I enjoy the dressing in Whistler but we also brought it back to Vancouver and then to Victoria so that our family there could experience it's rich deliciousness! I have sadly finished the bottle but I have been inspired to branch out and experiment more with my salad dressing-making adventures!

My favourite salad currently is a combination of warm and cool vegetables! I'll start by placing some spinach onto a plate. I will then steam some broccoli, green beans, zucchini, bok choy and kale (I will put a few slices of sweet potato into the water that's under the steamer...essentially I'm boiling the sweet potato)! Once all the veggies are steamed, I place them on top of the spinach, and add avocado, hemp hearts and pumpkin seeds. I usually am completely content with the different flavours and don't need to add any dressing, but I was enjoying the last days of summer and vacationing so I indulged with the pesto basil vinaigrette (salad pictured below)!!!!

While Dan, Noah and I were in Victoria for the September long weekend, we barbecued and Dan grilled these delicious portobello mushrooms and veggie burgers! I made a salad to accompany our burgers and Dan and I decided to top both our burgers and salads with a little splash of the delicious dressing! It was incredible!!!

I will finish off by saying "I'm backkkk"!!!!!!! Another post will follow shortly!!!