Sunday, March 30, 2014

Sunday Funday Foodstuffs: 3 Quick Healthy Meals

I meant to blog this on Wednesday since that is my "Blog about food day", but life happens, and this post is a Sunday night one instead. Deal with it.

In the past couple of weeks I have made some blog worthy meals (others not so much, pretty sure no one wants to hear about the toast with PB and banana I had for supper on Friday). Also, sorry for the blurry phone pics. My actual camera was accidentally left in Halifax back at Christmas because I was a little distracted the night before I left.

Round 1: Salmon with Arugula Pesto and Celeriac Mash

With the Fresh City Farm bag, I happened to have a surplus of celeriac (root of a celery, tastes like a mixture between celery and potatoes), and arugula..what to do, what to do? But then I had a great experience...Ever google some random ingredients and find the exact meal you can make? That happened to me, when I found this recipe on The Food Coma Blog. The only thing I was missing was the brussel sprouts so I just cooked up some Kale in the same pan that I cooked the salmon, surprisingly the fishy remnants actually gave the kale a great flavour. To be fancy I used a circle mold for the celeriac mash and added a few leaves of arugula. Best  (?) part was, Mike wasn't home for dinner that night, so the fancy meal was for no reason at all!

Round 2: Roasted Veggie Lettuce Wraps with Curry Sauce

Once again, I had a surplus of root veggies, so I decided to throw caution to the wind and wing this recipe: 

  1. Fill a baking sheet with Chopped Potatoes, Carrots, Turnip, Jerusalem Artichokes, Turnips, Squash, Garlic, Shallots (any root veggies you have on hand, beets would have been great in this)
  2. Splash some EVOO, salt and pepper, and roast in the oven at 450 for 30 minutes, turning once halfway through. 
  3. Plate on boston lettuce with some rice. 
  4. Curry Dip: 2 tbsp of Plain greek yogurt, 2 tsp of Curry
  5. Mix and eat! 
It turned out pretty delicious, and the curry yogurt gave a nice refreshing twist on such a "winter" meal...and it was nice and colourful!

Round 3: Cabbage and Collard Stir Fry and Kale Chips

Once again my inspiration for this meal was the overflow of veggies I had in my fridge, what is a tasty way to use up vegetables: STIR FRY!

1. Pan fry onions and garlic until fragrant (aka a few minutes)
2. Add mushrooms, red cabbage and 1/2 cup of soup broth, cook until cabbage softens
3. Add zucchini and tofu, and 1/4 cup of soy sauce, let cook for 5-8 minutes, stirring occasionally
4. Add collard greens, cook for 2-3 minutes.
5. Serve with hot sauce (if you DARE)

Meanwhile, to be random, make some Kale chips! 

Tear up Kale into bite size pieces and add some EVOO. After two nights of making the chips I have realized that I like my Kale naked..aka not too much oil. For a whole head of kale, I maybe use a tbsp or less. 
Mix with salt and pepper, and spice/flavor of your choice. (I used this as my excuse to try some Nutritional Yeast that I bought a while back. I had heard about how tasty it was from the blogosphere but didn't believe it. Sure enough I added about a 1 tbsp to the Kale chips and they tasted cheesy, bready and delicious.)
Cook for 20 mins at 375, flipping once, and watching carefully that they don't burn!

There you have it, 3 quick healthy meals with lots of veggies! 

Anyone have their favorite go-to healthy meals? Anyone else way too late to the Nutritional Yeast party?

Thursday, March 20, 2014

World Map Pin Board DIY

You know those times when you find something on Pinterest and you go "I could do that!"...Well this Pin, was one of them:

Need to do this!
Originally from

It's not on the original website anymore though, because this was for sale at least two years ago. And that is around when I originally pinned it and planned to do it... seriously, I bought the materials for this project on March 7th...2012!! (I have a history of putting off projects..oops)

Anyway moral of the story is it is done, and it was actually super easy!

Step 1: Assemble supplies
Foam Poster Board
Adhesive Cork Board (like this)
Scotch Tape
Skizzors aka Scissors
A detail oriented project partner (thanks Mike!)

Step 1b..realize you grabbed the wrong poster board, and aren't going to use the adhesive spray

Step 2:
Go online and find a blank world map...or use this link. I used Microsoft Publisher to resize the photo to be the same size as the board, and I also changed the grey to white so it would save ink. It worked out being spread out over 6 letter sized pages, so not a huge print job. I would recommend printing two copies

Step 3:
Cut out is where the detail oriented assistant helps...or mad focus. Don't worry about the little islands, that will come later.

Step 4: Tape continents to the Cork Board, cut out cork board. Meanwhile have your detail oriented partner cut out all the small islands (we did this mostly by eye, but you could cut out the template, and cut out those pieces as well.) 

"Hey, Africa"
Step 5: Next comes a little puzzle time, and this is where having a second copy of the map helps. We put the map down on the poster board, positioned the continents over it, then carefully removed the paper on the back of the adhesive, and the map itself, and placed the continent on the poster board. The second map also helped place all those little islands. 

Step 6: Step back in awe at what was accomplished in about 1 hour. 

Someone got overzealous with Hawaii (we corrected that before the final)

Step 7: 
Put some pins in it of places you have been or places you want to go, and hang it up on a wall. The benefit of this weighing all of nothing pounds (foam and cork are pretty light), is that we just put two 3M strips on it, and put it in place!
Two years later...
There you have it, a very simple craft, and it only cost me about 15 bucks, and I have lots of cork leftover. (Side note, I just googled the original pin, and a similar one costs...15 bucks. Well now).

Anyone else spend St. Patrick's day weekend doing crafts? Anyone else procrastinate like crazy?? 

Saturday, March 15, 2014

The Hot Yoga Experience

I am day 7 into a 10 day hot yoga challenge and finally wanted to share this post (it has been saved as a draft for over a year). Keep in mind I am not an expert, and this is just my own personal experience with Yoga. 

A couple years ago if someone had said to me “Yoga will Change your life” I would have laughed at them IN THE FACE. But they would have been right. Not to be all dramatic, and yogi-y but it is totally true.

First some background: I have always been a hyper type A person with 8 million thoughts going through my head. I am always planning, thinking ahead, and re-evaluating. If I let my brain wander I can simultaneously mentally have 3 to-do lists, a grocery list, a 5 year goal setting session, a future house decorated, and a song stuck in my head. Oh and look a cute dog just ran by. You get my point.
Totally ADHD.

I first did Yoga in university, in the crowded university gym with a bunch of other things happening in the other areas. My friend and I almost got kicked out because were laughing at how we couldn't hold the poses.The next attempt at Yoga was at a Goodlife studio in Halifax 3 summers ago, it was a quiet calm studio, the instructor was very yoga-y and they even had a chime thing to start the class to balance the chi or something. When I left that class I felt fresh and rejuvenated, and I started to go back.

Next I switched to Body flow, which is a mixture of Thai-Chi, Yoga and Pilaties. This gave me a work out, but also ended in a 5 minute shavasana, or 5 minutes of lying on the floor in the dark for you non-yoga people. Without being asleep those 5 minutes were probably the only time that I spent, just being still, lying, trying not to make 5 to-do lists in my head. Once again, no matter how stressed I was I would leave that class feeling mentally awesome, not to mention all the physical benefits.

While I lived in Halifax a friend (dragged me to) convinced me to try  5 classes of Moshka Hot Yoga. At first I was afraid (I was terrified..:P). I was worried it would be too hot, I would faint, I would feel claustrophobic. But I survived. I started in winter, and being able to spend 45 mins in a 35 degree room was so nice. Like a mini trip down south. 

Once I moved to Toronto, I found myself with a Bikram Yoga Centre coupon that included 5 free classes. I started going in February of 2012. Bikram Yoga is a Hatha style hot yoga class consisting of 26 postures and two breathing exercises. (more info here). 

When that ended I bought a discounted 20 class pass with the same coupon and ended up using most of the 20 between February and March in 2013. As much as it was tough to fit that many classes in 2 months, with work and tutoring, I found myself sad when the last class ended. Since there are a lot of groupons/deals for hot yoga I knew I could have probably studio hopped and gotten "the best deal" but after my frist 20 classes I realized I really liked the studio. I go to Bikram Yoga Centre, and the instructors are so great, and the studio is relaxing, welcoming and very clean! (Note they have no idea I am writing this post, and I'm not affiliated with them in anyway other than I go there and love it haha!)

So I bought a 40 class pass. I have been going at least once a week since June, through the hottest days and the coldest days. I did a little 5 day challenge at the beginning of January, and now (during March Break, so no tutoring) I am trying a 10 day challenge, and so far I am feeling great! I even dragged my friend for her first class, (just as my friend dragged me), and  as much as she glared at me after, I think she liked it!

Above and beyond the physical benefits, there have been some personal "lessons learned" about Yoga that I wanted to share. (Once again, these are just my personal lessons/observations!)

1. “A Yoga Session is called a Practice” I could do Bikram Yoga for 20 years, and would still have room to improve, and there isn't really an end goal. This is important to me because I am such a goal driven person. I can't say “In 3 months, I will do eagle perfectly” that isn't the way it works. This has taught me to look at other things in my life and career and understand that somethings will just happen with time. Patience is key!

2. “Only You can Impact Your Practice” I doesn't matter what the person next to me does, or if the instructor isn't the one I normally go to, it is all about my mindset. This has helped me realize that what other people do shouldn't impact my life. It is about my reaction to them that impacts my life. For example, yes it is annoying when someone cuts me off in traffic, but if I freak out about it and get road rage, I am letting the other person control me, and that isn't cool.

3. “NOW is the only important time”. I cannot hold a posture if I am worried about something outside of the posture, whether that is the outfit I am wearing, or the towel, or the pile of dishes at home. By focusing on the NOW, it helps my practice. This also helps outside of Yoga, because so many people spend so much time worrying about the past, and the what ifs. I still have to work on this, but I try to focus on the NOW more so then the unknown.

4.“Every day is different” I have gone into a class when I felt great and then laid on my mat for the full 1.5 hrs. I have also gone in when I feel like crap and was able to do every posture. I cannot predict what will happen in the class, I just have to let it happen. I find this helps when dealing with unknowns in life in general!

5. “Shavasana is the most important pose” Lying on the floor still, with out fidgeting, and trying to not think of anything can be the hardest part of the class. But with time, I find I am improving on this. I enjoy this time to just shut off my brain and not think of anything. This 3-5 minutes of complete nothing helps me stay focused outside of the class. 

There are many more things, but in general yoga is teaching me patience, control, acceptance, focus, and overall peace. Whoa totally went all zen on you there. Next post I'll be back to normal I promise...but one last meme:
Anyone else find extra benefits from their exercise? Anyone else love kitteh yoga?