Wednesday, November 30, 2011

What I Ate (When I Got Home from Vacation) Wednesday

Happy Wednesday!!

I hope you are doing amazingly well because it's been a long time since
I visited you on a What I At Wednesday!

As you know, I've spent the last week with my family in Tennessee and Kentucky. Derek had to work, so sadly I had to leave him and the dogs behind. It's safe to assume that I was absolutely gluttonous during the time I was away....because I was :-) All I wanted when I got home on Monday night was some fresh fruits and veggies. All I found was some old chicken wings, cheddar cheese and some very overripe pears.

Ugh!!! What the heck was I going to eat????

Luckily, I had picked some things while I was away that aren't so easy to find in Canada. They helped to tide me over until I had time to hit a grocery store.

For breakfast I had chocolate peanut butter Puffins. Can you believe that this is the first time I have ever had Puffins??  LOVE THEM ~ especially the peanut butter ones!

I also scored some Key Lime Larabars. Best flavour ever!!! And really, really hard to find! Thankfully I've now stocked up.

For dinner, I improvised and ended up with something pretty delish. In a wok I combined a package of Green Giant Vegetable Rice Primavera (whole grain rice, zucchini, broccoli and red pepper), a can of chickpeas, 1.5 cups of diced tomatoes, a pinch of cumin and tumeric and salt and pepper to taste. I let it simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes and then served. For a quick on-the-fly dinner it was really, really good!

And I absolutely CANNOT leave without giving some honourable mention to something my neice and I made while I was away. I found it on my beloved Pinterest. This Popcorn Cake is a fun dessert to make with the kiddos in your life and it tastes as sweet and sinful as it looks!

So there are some of my recent eats. What have you been munching on lately? If you're looking for more foodie inspiration head on over and visit Miss Jenn at Peas & Crayons.

What kind of eats do you come up with when the fridge is totally empty?

Happy Wednesday. I hope you enjoy your day!


Thursday, November 24, 2011

Being Thankful for What You Have

Happy Sunday folks! So, I had this post scheduled for posting on Thursday. Obviously something went haywire with the scheduling and I find my post never actually posted. So....I apologize for the delay, but I want to share this post even though it's late. Better Late Than Never :-)

Enjoy the rest of your holiday weekend!!!

Happy Thanksgiving to all of my American friends and family!!! To my fellow Canadians...Happy Thursday!! (sorry kids, I'm off on vacay and that's all I could come up with {wink wink})

Yesterday I arrived safely in Nashville where I met my dad and we headed on out to my sister's place in Jackson, TN. We bought groceries, I had a quick hair appointment with my sis (have I ever told you how awesome it is to have a hairdresser in the family??), I met my nephew Bentley (cutest baby ever!!!!!) and spent time with my 4 year old neice, Reese AKA Reese-a-roni.

Today it's all about cooking, family and mapping out our Black Friday plans.

Life is good.

The only that would make it better was if Derek was here. Sadly he had to work and miss out on this little vacation of mine.  

Before I get into today's post, I just want to say thank you so much to Kelly for her guest post yesterday. She and I think so much alike and I loved her reminder that we should be grateful for all the wonderful things in our lives whether they be big or small.

Her post was a really great intro to what I wanted to chat about on this fabulous Thanksgiving morning.

Today I am thankful for many things......
  • my hubby who had to stay home this weekend because he has to work
  • my health and the fact that I am strong and able and independent
  • my happy and healthy neices and nephews - our family is blessed with 4 awesome kiddos!!!
  • all 4 of my grandparents who are healthy, able-bodied, awesome individuals
  • my job - they're pretty hard to come by these days so I consider myself to be really lucky to have a steady and secure position where I work with lots of really, really great people
  • my house and the fact that I am lucky enough to own it
  • my dogs who give me unconditional love 100% of the time
  • my country who provides me with safety and security and gives me the right to speak and think freely
So as you can see, I'm pretty freakin' lucky and I have alot to be grateful for. It has taken me a long time to actually see all the greatness that is my life. Today I am happy to say that I am PRESENT and AWARE and even though Derek & I have our share of hard times (like any of you out there I am sure), I am still able to appreciate what I DO have.

I used to be a person who had the bad habit of "wanting what I don't have." I still find myself longing for "more" but not constantly like I used to. My old way of thinking used to go something like this - "Sure I have a house, but I want a bigger house with a bigger yard; and yeah I have a decent job, but I want to a position that's more exciting where I can make a boatload of money" see where I'm going with this???? Now, don't get me wrong I think it's great to have dreams and goals and to work hard to achieve them, but that's not really what I was doing. I would constantly compare myself to others and wish that I had it as good as they did.  I had a bad case of "Keepin' Up with the Joneses."

Why is it so hard to really open our eyes and see the blessings that are laid out in front of us? Accepting the hand you've been dealt in life does not mean you are resigned to be unhappy and unfulfilled. What it means is that you stop wasting time thinking about what you don't have and start enjoying what you DO have.

Today, as we give thanks for our daily bread, I want to issue a challenge to each and every one of you.
I challenge you to LIVE IN THE MOMENT!!!

Stop worrying about what you don't have and focus on what you do have. You might be surprised at how many blessings are in your life right now and I promise you that you are going to find a lot more happiness in the things you can enjoy in the present rather than always waiting for that day in the future when you think you'll have what you want.


Take a moment everyday for the next week and write down one thing that you are thankful for. Start making a list....let's call it our "I Am Thankful Journal".


 After you jot down what you're thankful for, take a few minutes to reflect on how it makes your life what it is today.

What are you thankful right this very minute?

Have a Happy Thanksgiving/Thursday and enjoy the day!!



Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Being Thankful

Howdy y'all. So it's Thanksgiving Eve (for all my American friends & family) and as you read this, I am probably high in the sky and bound for Nashville. Today you are in for an extra special treat....a guest post by Kelly, from Laughter, Strength and Food. She is one sweet chickie and I know you are going to love what she has to say. 

Hi Vegvacious readers! Open-mouthed smile
My name is Kelly and I blog over at Laughter, Strength, and Food. I would like to thank Andrea for giving me the opportunity to write a guest post for her! She is a pretty awesome lady…which I’m sure you all know since you are here reading this!
Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and it is truly one of my favorite times of the year. Aside from it being the official start of the holiday season (!!!), it is a holiday that has an amazing meaning that I think everyone can believe in and benefit from…
…and that is the meaning of being thankful.
I think that many times it becomes too easy to forget about all that we have and to be thankful for it each and every day. I know, first hand, how the chaos of life can sometimes act as a blinder and shield us from seeing the good that we have directly in front of us. I used to be one that usually had a pessimistic view no matter how much I told myself I had to be optimistic. A little over a year ago, I felt like I was in a bad place in my life. I had some personal things going on that I just didn’t know how to handle. Instead of using the good around me to bring me to a better place, I just focused on the bad and let myself believe that nothing was going to get better and that my life was at its worst point.
Sound a little dramatic? It was. I pushed away not only any positive thoughts I had, but also the positive people that I had in my life. Looking back, I can’t believe the way I let my negative emotions take over every aspect of my life. Thankfully, I had amazing people surrounding me who didn’t give up on me and refused to let me continue to be unhappy.
Am I thankful for those people?
Absolutely.Do I thank my lucky stars everyday that I have two supportive parents and an incredible boyfriend?
You better believe it.
It may sound cliché to be thankful for family and friends, however, I have learned that these key pieces of life can make all the difference in the world. More importantly, I‘ve re-learned how important it is to see the good in all every situation and to be thankful for those small things that make me smile everyday.
So, with that dramatic background into my life…let’s move on to the main point of what I want to share with you all!
Be thankful for everything you have…no matter how small it might seem.

Be thankful for your family, your parents, your friends, your significant others.
Be thankful for your job, your house, your car, your loving pets, the food you have on your table.
Be thankful for your favorite pair of comfy jeans, your old worn out slippers, your snuggly pajamas.
Be thankful for that workout you pushed yourself to complete.
Be thankful for your ability to laugh.
Be thankful for the ability to wake up and make each day the best it can be.
As we celebrate this Thanksgiving holiday, let’s think about all of the wonderful things in our lives that we can be thankful for and let’s carry those thoughts with us throughout the entire year. There is nothing more important that loving ourselves, loving others, and loving everything that makes us who we are.
I hope you all have a wonderful holiday!!
P.S. I am thankful for all of the delicious turkey, stuffing, and potatoes I’ll be eating tomorrow!!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Kale: The Overlooked Superfood

If you are a lover of food or healthy living blogs, I'm sure you've seen kale mentioned a time or two.

Kale is one of those superfoods that doesn't get enough credit where credit is due. I'm sure I saw kale in the grocery store, but I never gave it a second glance and didn't really acknowledge its existence until a year or so ago. It was right around the time when I'd come to the realization that my eating habits needed to change if I wanted to lose weight, get fit and live a healthier life. That was also the time that I discovered the wonder that is green smoothies. The first time I tried kale was in a green smoothie and I have one word for how it turned out "BLECH!" I hated it! Kale left my smoothie thick and chunky and I was barely able to slurp it down.

After that experience, kale was gone from my diet once again. However, this summer I kept seeing recipes for kale. Kale chips and marinated salads really caught my eye, so I decided to give it a second chance. I am so glad I did because I can now call kale a veggie that I love. Not only have I found some tasty recipes that I use over and over again, but kale is also full of nutritional goodness that I just can't deny my bod. First of all, kale is very high in antioxidants and what gal doesn't love that?!

2 cups of kale contains 260% of the daily requirement for vitamin A, 170% of vitamin C, 10% of calcium, 8% iron , 3 grams of protein , over 1000% vitamin K,  and 40%  manganese , 40% of vitamin B6 among other. As a green leafy vegetable it is a prime cancer fighting food, rich in anti-oxidants and detoxifying enzymes, carotenoids  and high in fiber . The  sulfurous phytochemicals stimulate the body to make cancer fighting enzymes. One cup contains more than 5 grams of fiber.The carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin in kale help prevent eye degeneration and help protect against cataracts .It is also high in calcium. [source]

Now that is some kick butt, awesome stats!!!!

So naturally, when my friend Judy gave me a recipe for marinated kale, I was all over it! I headed straight to the grocery store to pick up a bunch of kale so I could try it out. SCORE! I loved it! It's definitely another easy and awesome recipe that I'll be adding to my vault. :-)

Marinated Kale
Recipe slightly adapted from Maximized Living

This recipe is a great way to enjoy raw kale. If you love the taste of hummus, you'll probably love this recipe because the dressing has many similarities.

1 small bunch kale
1.5 tbsp tahini
1.5 tbsp water
1.5 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 - 2 cloves of garlic, minced

Cut your kale into bite-sized pieces. I do not use the kale stems because they tend to be bitter.

In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients.

Pour onto the kale and mix well. Don't be afraid to get your hands in there and massage the dressing in really well. Refrigerate for at least one hour.

This marinated kale makes a great snack or side dish to a healthy dinner.

I have two other kale recipes that I love. Check 'em out:

Baked Kale Chips
Weekend Glow Kale Salad (by Angela)

Have you ever tried kale before? What's your fave way to eat it?

Enjoy your day!


Sunday, November 20, 2011

Just Another Pin-tastic Sunday

Happy Sunday! So how has your weekend been so far? Yesterday was a busy day because I went to work in the morning to do some catch up and then Derek and I went for an early anniversary dinner in the evening. I had lots of things I wanted to do today, but most of it didn't happen. Instead, I indulged in my Pinterest obsession while watching movies. We all need days of indulgence don't we?!

I had plans to post a recipe today, but last week I saw a post by Angela that was dedicated to Pinterest and since that pretty much sums up my day, I thought I'd share a little "Pinning" love myself. If you are as addicted to Pinterest as I am and you want to check out more things that I've pinned, click here to find me.  

Here are some of my favourite pins.

Talk about indulgences :-D I'm going to visit my family next week and I hear there's a sleepover with my neice and nephew being planned. I'm thinking this Popcorn Cake is going to be a winner with a certain 3 year old and 9 year old.

Pinned Image

I could not have said this better myself. With my anniversary coming up next week, I thought this was perfect.

soooo sweet...and soooo true.

Derek and I have started planning our annual Christmas shindig and I love this creative twist on a veggie tray.

Pinned Image

And speaking of Christmas, this is definitely on my wish list. Name necklaces make me think Sex and the City! I've wanted one for years (ever since Carrie had one on SATC!!!) and now it's in Derek's inbox as a Christmas "idea" for me ;-)

Pinned Image

It's safe to say that I'm not known for my craftiness, but Pinterest has really motivated me to try a few things. This DIY scarf is too die for and it is so incredibly easy (at least I hope!)

we are owls poem scarf DIY results
You could write anything that inspires or moves you.
Love it! Want it!

Hopefully you've seen something that's peaked your interest and you're heading straight over to Pinterest right now. I warn you though that it is really, really addicting!

Have you discovered the wonderful world of Pinterest yet?
What is your favourite thing to do on a lazy Sunday?

Have a great night and I'll see you in the work week,


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Best Scramble Combo EVER

I love going out for breakfast. It's my favourite meal to eat out and Derek & I often go on the weekend to our favourite greasy spoon spot. I especially love going when we're on vacation in the US because I love biscuits, shredded hashbrowns and fried apples.

When we were in Las Vegas we only got up in time for breakfast twice! Let's just say we vacationed like rock stars and stayed up to the wee hours of the morning almost every single night. The first morning we had breakie was the day that we took a roadtrip to California. We stopped at a 50s-themed diner called Peggy Sue's Diner and had a traditional Southern breakfast. It was delish! 

We also got up early on our last day of vacation. We asked around about where a good place to eat was and were sent off to Hash House a Go Go in Harrahs.  If  you're planning a trip to Las Vegas and you're looking for a place that is rockin' awesome, Harrah's is it. We love to spend time at The Piano Bar, the Carnival (an outdoor bar) and Toby Keith's Bar & Grill.   The Hash House is yet another reason to love it there!

The menu at the Hash House is outrageous and the portions are HUGE. I ordered a scramble combination of eggs, sundried tomatoes, fresh basil and goat cheese. It was soooooo gooooooodddddd!!!! I knew it was something I was definitely going to have to re-create when I got home. What I didn't expect was that my scramble was going to be amazing! I'm pretty confident in saying that mine is the absolute best and I promise that it's going to leave you weak in the knees.

Tomato Basil Scramble with Goat Cheese
Serves 1

2 eggs
1/4 c almond milk
4 sundried tomatoes, sliced
2 large basil leaves, thinly sliced
2 - 3 tbsp creamy goat cheese
pinch salt & pepper

In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs and almond milk. Add the tomatoes and basil.

Heat a small non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Add your egg mixture and cook until scrambled. Once the egg mixture is cooked, fold in your goat cheese. Add salt & pepper to your preference.

Serve immediately.

The Cast

I served mine with some homemade shredded hashbrowns.




What's your favourite scramble combo?
Do you have a place you love to visit when you're on vacation?

Happy Thursday!!!


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Lots of Lovin' Wednesday - Birthday Edition

So usually you would get to see a 'day in the life of my eats' on Wednesday, but I've been a little bit lazy in the cooking department and really didn't have any phenomenal foodie adventures to share with you. I promise that my next WIAW post will come after my trip to Tennessee and Kentucky over the Thanksgiving Weekend because from what I hear, our eats are going to be amazing. My dad is the best holiday meal maker on the planet!

Snce we're skipping the eats today, I thought I'd share some of the things that I've been lovin' since we got home from our Vegas vacation. My 34th Birthday was on November 6th, so I thought it was appropriate to share some of my fave birthday things.

My birthday fell on a Sunday and when I arrived at work on the following Monday, these were on my desk. I am loving these gorgeous flowers (which are still alive and well on my kitchen table!) and the boss who bought them for me. I'm a pretty lucky gal! 

I also received a some pretty cool gifts.
My grandma gave me this gorgeous turquoise necklace. Ever since I got it, I've been trying to plan my outfits around it, so that I can wear it every single day :-D

Yesterday, I got a package from my mom in the mail. Included were these 2 Vera Bradley makeup bags.


I've never seen her products in Canada, but I see them everywhere around my parents and I love them!

And finally, Derek gave me some American moula. I love money and I love shopping, so this was the perfect gift to give a girl who's planning some serious retail therapy on Black Friday.

So there you have it. I had a pretty rockin' birthday and I was spoiled, as always.

What is a gift that you've recently received that you absolutely love?
I need some inspiration, so tell me what your best eats were this week. 

Enjoy your Wednesday!


Monday, November 14, 2011

Stuffed & Baked Apples

When I was a teenager, my dad used to force me to help him stuff the turkey every Thanksgiving and Christmas. It was the one job that I DETESTED and I let him know it. I whined and complained and pulled every dramatic that a teenage girl could dream up, but he never wavered and always made me help. I think he just loved stirring up trouble beause he knew I hated that job.  

Since becoming a vegetarian, I try to steer clear of the bird and let the meat eaters tackle that job.

When it comes to stuffing food, I'd much rather stuff some sweet and juicy apples with a crumbly oatmeal mixture!! Since we got home from vacation, I can't get enough sweets. I've made chocolate macaroons and caramel popcorn, chowed down on a crustless pumpkin pie and even snuck a few bites of frozen Cool Whip right out of the freezer!! I'm telling you that getting  back into an eating routine is really hard after a week of Vegas indulgence followed by my birthday.

Yesterday, I prowled around the kitchen all day looking for something to satisfy my sweet tooth. I couldn't find anything, so I decided I needed to take matters into my own hands. I had a bag of apples that needed to be used up, so what better treat could I make than some baked apples stuffed with oatmeal, cocount and brown sugar?! 

The result was what I would call an inside out apple crumble that warms you from the inside out. It only takes a few minutes to put together and is absolutely delish! I topped my stuffed apple with some Cool Whip because that's all I had on hand, but they would be absolutely divine with some coconut or vanilla bean ice cream. 

Stuffed & Baked Apples
Serves 3 or 4

3 - 4 large apples, washed & cored
1/2 c large rolled oats
1/4 c unsweetened shredded coconut
1/4 c chopped pecans
1/4 c brown sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
2 tsp maple syrup
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Preheat your oven to 350. Line a small baking sheet with tinfoil or parchment paper.

Mix together all of the ingredients (except of course the apples) in a small mixing bowl.

Stuff the mixture into the apples.

Bake the apples for 24 - 26 minutes. They are done when the apples are soft and the oatmeal mixture is a golden brown.

This is a great way to use up some apples that have been hanging around too long.

Carve out the core and leave a great big space for all of that delicious filling.

Crumbly, oaty stuffing --- mmmmmmmm......

Stuff in as much oaty deliciousness as you can!

Line your pan with tinfoil to avoid a sticky mess.
Anything that cuts back on dish washing is a winner in my book!

Top with whipped cream or ice cream.

Seriously amazing!

What do you snack on when you have a "sweets" craving?
Favourite apple recipe? Link me up.

Have a fabulous day,


Sunday, November 13, 2011

I'm Baa-aack

Hi Y'all! I'm back and boy have I missed you so, so much!

I apologize for the extended absence, but I have to tell you that before this little holiday I was feeling burnt out, stressed and just fed up with everything! I was just 'getting by' everyday and didn't feel like anything was getting 100% of me.

The good news is that now I'm back all rested and revitalized. While I was on my little hiatus I went on vacation to Las Vegas, had a whirlwind trip to Cali, went to our friend's Hallowe'en wedding and celebrated my 34th birthday. I've also booked a mini-vacay to visit my family over the American Thanksgiving Holiday weekend where I will be cuddling my new nephew, Bentley, participating in some serious Black Friday shopping and just enjoying some of the coolest, most special people in my life.

Life is good and I feel great!

So first of all I have to say Thank You, Thank You, Thank You so much for sticking with me and coming back to Vegvacious.

Next, I promise I have lots of fabulous things in store for the blog. I've got to tell you all about my vacation and the most unique wedding we have ever been to and of course I have lots and lots of fabulous recipes planned. I'm also hoping to get some very special bloggers to guest post for me when I'm away in a couple of weeks.

So stay tuned, I promise things will get back to normal and there'll be lots and lots of vegvacious love to go around over the next several weeks!

Love ya and talk to y'all real soon!