Thursday, December 29, 2011

Holidays Offline

Sorry I've been MIA over the past couple of weeks!! I've been taking a bit of an offline break, so that I can enjoy the holiday festivities to the absolute fullest.

My parents have just arrived for a visit and will be staying until after New Years and by January 3rd everything should be back to normal in the Vegvacious household.

The good new is that you must come back to visit me in 2012 because I have some great things planned! I am in the process of reviewing my goals in 2011 and making a new list for 2012. I have some great recipes that I'm going to be sharing and I'm going to be making some lifestyle changes to get back on track after all of the holiday indulgences. Derek and I also have a couple of trips in the works for 2012 and I'll be sharing all the deets on those with you very, very soon.

Oh.....and Derek got me a new 'toy' for Christmas which will hopefully improve the quality of the pics  on the blog {wink wink}!!! I can't wait for that!


I hope that you're having a wonderful holiday so far and I wish you a very safe & Happy New Year.

I shall see you in 2012!!!

Until then,


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

What I Ate (the Week Before Christmas) Wednesday

Happy December 21st! It's hard to believe that this is the last What I Ate Wednesday before Christmas!!!

Thanks to Jenn for continuing to host such awesome eats parties every Wednesday!!!
Derek and I have been busy with Christmas shopping, parties, gift wrapping and decorating. There's also been alot of treats and temptations popping up all over the place --- cookies in the lunchroom at work, neighbours dropping over with baked goodies and wine and mixed drinks at all the celebrations. How do you handle all the treats and sweets at this time of year??

I have a hard time because I love Christmas goodies, but I do try to indulge in moderation. My rule of thumb is that I am going to enjoy the things I love. For me that includes shortbread, cheesecake and stuffing. I don't indulge just for the sake of indulging ---- if it's something that I can live without, then I can usually pass it by without too much trouble.

Since we've been so busy, I've been really bad about taking pics of my eats. It's not so much a 'day in the life' as it is some of the things I've been eating over the past week.

One of my fave things about winter is clementines. I betcha that I eat 4 - 6 per day!!

I've also been loving this homemade trail mix. This was a treat that was given to Derek and eaten by me ;-)

Yesterday I made an awesome Creamy Polenta with Artichokes, Carmelized Onion and Olive Ragout. It was the first time I ever had polenta and I LOVED this meal! It was healthy, comforting and really filling - a perfect combo for a winter dinner!

I've only made one Christmas treat so far. Let's just say I have a lot of baking to do between now and Sunday! This Chocolate Graham Toffee Bark is sooooo good. Instead of using semi-sweet chocolate chips, I used milk chocolate and I topped the bark with crushed Heath bits. It's to die for! It's easy to make and freezes well (which helps to keep my sticky little fingers out of it!)

When I find myself craving a piece of bark or other sugar-laden treat, I've been having a chocolate chai herbal tea instead. The chocolatey aroma of this tea while it's steeping is to die for! It's also a great pick-me-up in the middle of the afternoon when I'm having a lull at work.

So there are some of my eats this week; what have you been enjoying?
Do you have any tips on how to survive all the temptations of the holiday?

Have a great day!!!


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Loaded Baked Potato Soup

So it's taken me a week to get my post written and ready, but I'm finally going to share the crockpot potato soup that I promised you last week. Derek and I polished off an enormous crockpot full of soup over the past week and we both agreed it was an awesome recipe that we'll be using throughout the cold wintery months.

Would you believe it if I told you I found the recipe through Pinterest??? Hard to believe right {wink wink}?! I know I probably come off as a little obsessed over this whole pinning craze, but I have to tell you I have found SO MUCH inspiration. I've crafted a bit, baked some new recipes, found some new blogs and even tried out a hair tutorial for loose curls (which I happen to be sporting for the first time right now)!!

Anyways, I could go on and tell you about all my wonderful pinning adventures, but I'll try to stick to the topic of the day ---

Loaded Baked Potato Soup (crockpot recipe)
Recipe from Mama Loves Food (varied to make it vegetarian)
Makes A LOT!!!! I guestimate about 8-10 servings

This is a thick and hearty soup that is just perfect for those cold blustery nights when all you want to eat is something that will warm you from your toes to your nose. It's a delicious vegetarian soup and if you aren't a vegetarian, you could easily sub chicken stock for the veggie broth and add crumbled bacon as a topping.

5lbs yellow potatoes, washed and diced (you do not have to peel)
1 lg yellow onion, diced
10 cloves of garlic, minced
8 c vegetable broth or chicken stock
12 oz cream cheese cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 tbsp Spicy Mrs. Dash (you can use your fave seasonings)
sea salt & pepper to taste

Must have toppings: shredded cheddar cheese, chopped green onions or chives, crumbled bacon (for the meat eaters)

Combine the potatoes, onion, garlic, seasoning and vegetable broth in the slow cooker. Cook on high for 6 hours or on low for 8 - 10 hours. Once the soup is done cooking, keep the crockpot on low and mash up the potatoes using a potato masher. I just partially mashed the potatoes and left lots of chunky bits.Add the cream cheese and  and then use a hand mixer to combine. Let simmer, as it will probably take 10 - 15 minutes for the cream cheese to be completely melted in.

I was a little skeptical when the soup looked like this.....

...but thank goodness for the cream cheese, which gave the soup a nice creamy colour....

Top with your choice of toppings and serve immediately.

I give you the epitome of comfort food!!!

Have a great day,

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Wordless Holiday Weekend

WELCOME and won't you come in!!!! We've been busy little elves in the Vegvacious house --- when we weren't out enjoying ourselves at Christmas parties, we were home geting our house all gorgeous and festive.
I think we did a pretty fabulous job.

...would you believe me if I tell you I made the wreath and outdoor arrangement????

Now get going and enjoy the last few hours of sweet freedom before the work week is upon us!!


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

What I Ate Wednesday

Happy Wednesday!

I made some really great recipes this week, so I'm going to cut the chit chat short and get right to all my yummy eats.......


Greek Yogourt sweetened with honey and topped with Pumpkin Harvest Granola


Loaded baked potato soup. This is a crockpot recipe that will be coming very, very soon! We think it tastes even better the second day, so we've had this for a couple of lunches now :-)


Honey mustard roasted veggies over quinoa (recipe by Kris). Best veggie recipe I've tried lately!!! If you love honey mustard, you will LOVE this recipe --- I took the leftovers to work the next day and had them in a wrap for lunch. SO. GOOD!

So there you have it! Short and sweet and sooooooo delicious! If you're looking for more meal inspiration, head on over and check out Miss Jenn's What I Ate Wednesday page.

I suspect we might even find some awesome recipes for the holidays over there!!!

What have you been munching on this week?

Have an awesome day,


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Christmas Cookies

I love to eat all the Christmas baking that is shared through the holiday season, but last year was the first time I actually did some baking myself. I've  always said that I wasn't a baker, but I had so much cookie success that I've decided I'll make an exception at Christmas.

As a kid, my all-time favourite Christmas Cookie was a buttery shortbread. I still love me some shortbread, but I've gotta spread that love around to a whole bunch of others too. I'm not great at coming up with cookie recipes myself, so I browsed the blog world last December and found these amazing recipes.

Oreo Balls (recipe by Jessica) - You're going to notice that a lot of my recipes came from her last year, but every single thing she makes is just so good, I can't resist her recipes! These were like mini oreo cheesecakes and were my absolute favourite cookie last year!

Soft Gingersnap Cookies (recipe by Maria) - Ok, so Maria is an awesome baker too! I never had a real love for gingersnaps....until these!

Gingerbread Men - I think the secret ingredient in this is butterscotch pudding!

Peanut Butter Blossoms - Who doesn't love a peanut butter/chocolate combo??

Holiday Thumbprints (recipe by Mother Lovett/Jessica) - simple, traditional and delish! I coloured the coconut red & green and that made these a huge hit with my neices and nephew.

Shortbread Cookies - These are melt-in-your mouth delicious! I didn't add anything to fancy them up because they are perfect all on their own.

Last year, our freezer was filled with these delicious little bites and they all froze really, really well.

....and this year, I'm planning on adding these bad boys to the list:

Vanilla Pudding Chocolate Chip Cookies (recipe by Maria) - I'm going to use Christmas M & Ms in place of the chocolate chips

Cookies and Cream Oreo Bark (by Naomi) - Okay, so I love oreos especially when you add chocolate! This is one of my "pins" on Pinterest.

White Chocolate Peppermint Fudge - I confess this is another Pinterest find! You've gotta have a little peppermint included in your Christmas baking --- it's just one of those unwritten rules!! :-D

So is your mouth watering yet???
Do you have some Christmas baking that's become a tradition in your family?
If you have some great family recipes that you'd like to share, attach a link so I can check it out!

Now go grab a snack {wink wink} and have yourself an amazing day!


Monday, December 5, 2011

Pumpkin Harvest Oatmeal

Happy Monday Morning.

Did you all have a fabulous weekend? Our weekend didn't go quite the way that I expected, but it still turned out to be pretty darn good. Yesterday we were supposed to put up our Christmas decorations, but sadly it was pouring rain and very muddy and we decided to put if off a few days because all of our decorations are stored in the shed in the backyard. Derek has some down time this coming week, so fingers crossed that our house will be completely "Christmas-fied" by the time next weekend rolls around. Have you decorated your house yet???

Since decorating was delayed, I decided to get busy in the kitchen and make a couple of things that had been brewing in my head. The first thing I did was to get a baked potato soup together in the crockpot for dinner. It  was really yummy and I'll be sharing the recipe with you later this week.

Once the crockpot was ready and simmering away, I got busy making a new granola. It's been a while since I did a batch and I've been dreaming about a pumpkin-flavoured granola since I was at my parents for Thanksgiving. So, I pulled out everything I had that would go great together and got to work.

Pumpkin Harvest Granola

This is a great granola that encompasses all the flavours of Fall. The nice thing about granola is that you can customize it to include anything you have in the cupboards. You also can sweeten it up to your liking and use any add-ins that make your mouth water ;-)

3 c old fashioned rolled oats
1 tbsp chia seeds
2 tbsp dried cranberries
1/4 c pepitas
1/4 c. pecan pieces
1/4 c. unsweetened shredded coconut
1.5 tsp cinnamon
heaping 1/2 c pumpkin pie filling*
1/4 c tbsp maple syrup
3 tbsp canola oil
1 tsp vanilla

*Note - After posting this recipe, I've made a couple of minor changes to make it even better! I increased the amount of wet ingredients because I found that the granola wasn't quite as sweet and sticky as I would have liked. The recipe now reflects my changes.

Pre-heat your oven to 325. Line a large baking pan with parchment paper.

Combine your dry ingredients (oats, chia, cranberries, pepitas, pecans, coconut & cinnamon) in a large bowl. Stir to combine.

In a small bowl, whisk together the  wet ingredients.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients until well combined.

Pour your granola into your baking pan and spread out evenly.

Bake for 25 - 35 minutes. I've had many accidental granola burnings so I bake my granola at a low temperature and I stir every 5 to 7 minutes. It's ready when the granola is baked to a golden brown.

Store unused granola in an airtight container.

*Note - I thought that I bought pure pumpkin, but discovered it was actually pumpkin pie filling. You could easily use pure pumpkin and your own spices, but then you would have to sweeten it up with more maple syrup.

I'm really looking forward to eating this granola on top of some Greek yogourt sweetened with honey. Breakie is going to be goooo-ooood this week!!!

This would also make a great hostess gift if you stored it in a mason jar wrapped up in your fave ribbon.

Don't you love my fabric/ribbon choices???
This is a hint of what my new garland looks like :-D

Have you ever made your own granola before? If you have, what's your fave add-in?

I hope you have a fabulous start to your work week!


Saturday, December 3, 2011

Grilled Cheese Extraordinaire

When you think of your favourite childhood foods, what is the first thing that comes to your mind? For me, it was all about homemade mac 'n cheese and grilled cheese sandwiches.

As much as I still love both, I can't help but to try to fancy them up now and again.....what can I say, I've become a true foodie :-D

Lately I've seen several variations on a grilled cheese and I wanted to get in on the fun. I added a few of my fave things and the result was pretty fantastic. I hope you love it!

Grilled Cheese Extraordinaire
Makes 1 sandwich

This is a great way to 'fancy up' an old childhood favourite.

2 slices bread of your choice (I used 12 grain)
Earth Balance (or butter)
shredded mozzarella cheese
2 - 3 slices avocado
3 - 4 slices of tomato
pinch of salt

I assume we all know how to make a grilled cheese, so I'm not going to go into great detail on how to make it. Simply butter your bread and assemble your sandwich by layering the tomatoes, avocado, cheese and a pinch of salt. Grill in a small frying pan.

All it takes is a simple cast characters for this sammie.

There is so much deliciousness packed in there!

Remove from the skillet and serve. I made a side of kale chips to go with my sammie. It was a perfect Friday night dinner! The only thing that would have made it better was a glass of merlot; sadly, there was no wine to be found in the Vegvacious household :-(

So now I better be off. You know there are only 3 weeks 'til Christmas right?! I have TONS to do!!! I'm even trying my hand at getting making some new decorations. Here's a hint of what I've been working on.....

I'm hoping I can share the finished product on Sunday or Monday.

Until then, have a great weekend.

What are your plans this weekend?
Favourite childhood eats?

See ya real soon,