Thursday, June 28, 2012

Mini Taco Wonton Cups

Hi! Happy Thursday - only one day left until a long weekend for us Canadians....not that I'm counting down or anything :-)

My complete obsession for all foods with a Mexican flare has continued for a second consecutive week. I can't get enough of spicy meals smothered in white cheddar queso, black olives and guacamole. It's surprising how versatile all these foods are; they work with eggs, in wraps, on salads or can be all mixed together to make a most excellent salsa....let's face it, can you really get too much of a good thing?? I would have to argue that when it comes to food (healthy food that is) you cannot.

I've had the idea for this recipe for a while now and since I only had a few things left to use up from my Mexican food craze, I knew that it was time to make my vision a reality. I was so happy with how these little cups of deliciousness turned out. They're so easy to make and are very versatile.  I topped mine with the leftovers that I had in the fridge, but you can certainly use any and all of your fave taco toppings. I've listed a bunch of toppings below to give you some ideas. I think these would be fun for a family dinner night where everyone could "dress" up their own taco cups. It might be a wee bit messy, but definitely fun for all! I was also thinking that you could cram a whole bunch of taco cups onto a platter and serve them as an appetizer for a group. Visually they are super cute and they are really tasty. I'm thinking a total crowd pleaser for sure!

Mini Taco Wonton Cups
Makes 12

12 wonton wrappers
2/3 c refried beans
1/4 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
pinch crushed red pepper flakes

Toppings (you choose your faves!): shredded lettuce, green onions, salsa, tomatoes, shredded cheddar, olives, guacamole, sour cream, black beans, corn, diced jalapenos

Preheat your oven to 350. Spray a mini muffin tin with non-stick spray.

Press one wonton wrapper into each mini muffin cup.

Mix the refried beans, cumin, chili powder and red pepper flakes together. Spoon the bean mixture evenly into each wonton cup.

Bake the wonton cups for 11 - 13 minutes until the wonton wrappers are crispy around the edges and the bean mixture is warmed thoroughly.

Add your desired toppings. (mine had cheese, guac, salsa, lettuce and black olives)





Serve....and EAT!!

As a meal, I would think that 4 to 6 cups with a large salad on the side would be a perfect size, however if you're like me, you might intend to to share the cups with your wonderful and hungry spouse, but accidentally eat them all before they get home. Whooops!

Just make sure you clean up the evidence and they'll never know what they missed ;-)
My husband is just so happy that the dishes are done and he didn't have to help that he never questions what exactly I used the dishes for ~  hehe!

*Note: if you are aiming to please a meat eating crowd,
you could substitute spiced up taco meat for the bean mixture.*

Do you ever use wonton wrappers for things other than wontons?

What is your favourite taco topping?

Happy Thursday!


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

What I Ate Wednesday

Happy Wednesday! I am personally so happy to see this humpity hump day arrive. I don't know why, but I have been so stinkin' sleepy this week and the coming weekend is a long one for us Canadians (Happy Canada Day!), so I am hoping to spend some late mornings tucked away in my comfy cozy bed. Ah....sleeping in. That is one luxury that Derek & I rarely get and absolutely cherish when we do!

Of course, I also love Wednesdays because I just love sharing my weekly eats with you. I haven't been the best at taking pics of my snacks this week, but I have had some pretty great meals that should tantalize your taste buds.

Coffee with unsweetened vanilla almond milk, an apple
and a multigrain bagel thin with all-natural peanut butter.

Mid-Morning Snack
More. Caffeine.

Island Coconut coffee. Delish and smells absolutely divine.

Oh boy, do I have a new recipe for you....tomorrow.

Mini taco wonton bites.

Grilled portabello mushroom caps, half a steamed sweet potato and grilled corn & cheddar quinoa.


Tastebuds tickled?!

For even more mouth-watering meal ideas, head on over to Peas & Crayons
to check out Jenn's What I Ate Wednesday page.

Do you like flavoured coffee? What's your fave flave?

What do you do to keep energized on days when you can barely hold your eyes open?
I hope you have a WONDERFUL day,


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Restaurant Re-creation - Roasted Beet & Arugula Salad

Hiya! So how's your week so far? Mine has been pretty great, but for some reason I've come down with a major case of writer's block. We've been super busy and I haven't had the opportunity to get creative in the kitchen and I think that's been part of my problem....or then again, maybe this is my problem hehe....

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Yesterday, while I was racking my brain on what I wanted to post about, I came across a post I wrote earlier in the Spring, but never posted because I suffered a technological snafu and lost my pictures. I promise I'll add in some pics next time I make this, but it is soooo good and this weather is perfect salad weather, so I thought it was a great time to share.....

...and while you're getting inspired to make this salad, I'm going to go find some inspiration of my own, so that I can share something awe-inspiring and wonderful later on in the week ;-)

Ciao for now!


Do you ever go to a restaurant and have something that is sooooo good that you want to run right home and recreate your own version?

That happened to me a while ago when my team at work went out for a co-worker's birthday lunch. Typically I don't like to order salads when we're out. I think it's because I feel jipped if everyone's eating a juicy burger and fries and all I have is a measley bowl of lettuce. However, on the rare occasion when I do order a salad, I am almost always thrilled and satisfied with my meal! This lunch ended up being one of those 'love it' experiences where I ordered a salad in sticking with my healthy eats plan and it was freakin' amazing! It was much, much better than some boring ol' burger and fries combo ;-)

Roasted Beet and Arugula Salad
Serves 2 (entree-size salads)

The sweet beets combined with the bitterness of the arugula and the sweet tanginess of the dressing are a combo fit to tickle your tastebuds. Add a few crunchy walnut bits and my tried and true goat cheese and you have a salad for champions!

2 medium sized beets
2 tbsp olive oil
4 c of arugula
2 - 4 tbsp chopped walnuts
4 tbsp goat cheese
4 - 5 tbsp raspberry vinagrette

To roast beets:
Preheat your oven to 350. Cut the tops and bottoms off of your beets. Place the beets on a large sheet of tinfoil and drizzle with olive oil. Wrap the beets tightly in the tinfoil. Place the beets on a cookie sheet and put into the oven to roast. It takes approximately 45 minutes for the beets to roast.

Once the beets are roasted, remove from the oven and place them in your sink. Run cold water over the beets to cool them and the skins will literally peel right off! Slice the beets into 1/4 - 1/2" slices and set aside.

To fix your salad, place the arugula onto 2 dinner-size plates. Next spread the beets over the arugula. Sprinkle walnuts, goat cheese and drizzle the dressing over the entire thing.

Serve and enjoy!

I did a quick search on Pinterest, so I could at least tantalize your taste buds with a similar looking picture. This is exactly what the salad will look like!

Pinned Image

Healthy, satisfying and delicious!!!!!

Do you ever try to re-create your favourite restaurant dishes?

Where do you draw inspiration and creativity from when you have a "blockage"?

Enjoy your day,

Friday, June 22, 2012

High Five for Friday

Happy Friday! We made it through this super hot week and not only is there a weekend ahead, but the weather Gods are also calling for a break in this crazy humidity! Thank freakin' goodness - I am dying for a couple of frizz-free hair days :-)

After a crazy week away, I finally am starting to feel like I'm back in the groove of my normal routine, so I thought it'd be a good week to share some highlights that have made me smile. Thanks to Lauren for hosting this weekly link up par-tay of all things fabulous.


1. There were a couple of days this week when this was totally me.

This was posted by one of my Facebook friends and I don't know where she found it, so unfortunately I'm not able to reference for you. If you happen to know, please let me know so I can give credit :)

2. The weather this week was perfect beer drinkin' weather, but instead I made myself the most fabulous strawberry lime spritzer. Too.Die.For. (and much better for the waistline)

3. Speaking of waistlines, I've been heading to the gym early every morning this week. My main reason is because I'd rather get ready for work there instead of at home where I'm sweating my make up off as fast I'm applying it. I tried this workout by Courtney yesterday. It made my bum muscles burn ... which is a good thing considering all the shorts and swimsuits I'll be sporting over the next several weeks.
Check out this link for more of Courtney's workout routines
- I've really like her treadmill routines!

4. I really need a new swimsuit and I want something a little different this year.
I am in LOVE with this.

5. Now that I've started pulling out all of my shorts & summer wear, I've noticed I'm looking just a little bit pasty. I just got this bronzer from Mark and I am in love.
It gives a perfectly subtle glow.

So there's some of my 'happy' things from the week,

What's made you smile?

Have a great day,



Thursday, June 21, 2012

Strawberry Lime Spritzer

You know those summer days when it's so freakin' hot out you feel like you just might melt?! Today is  the third day in a row that's threatening record temperatures and humidity that is through the roof. You know it's bad when you get out of the shower and start sweating before you even start to put your make up on. I think it's pretty safe to declare this week the first "bad hair" week of summer. Hello you doin'??

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We have a really old house that doesn't have any duct work, so no central air for us. We do have a heavy duty stand up one that hooks into our window though, but no matter how high we run the A/C, our house just can't seem to get rid of the ickiness that comes with such crazy humidity.  I've been more motivated than ever to get up bright and early to do my workouts before work just so I can get ready for work at the gym instead of at home :) 

Normally, I would say that this is the perfect beer drinkin' kinda day, but I'd like to stay away from anything that's laden with calories, so I decided to recreate one of my favourite non-alcoholic drinks instead. Have you ever had a Strawberry Limeade from Sonic? Sadly, there are no Sonics in Canada (or in Ontario at least), so I always try to make a pit stop for some tater tots and a limeade whenever I'm visiting the fam.  Last week my mom & I stopped on the way to the airport for breakfast. Strawberry limeade, tater tots and cheddar poppers --- oh my --- what a meal!!

Strawberry limeades are soooo good and the one I had last week got me thinking about how easy it would be to create my own verison at home. It turned out to be pretty fabulous -- the perfect summer bevie when you're looking for something that's a little 'fancied up' without the booze. I used sparkling water instead of a sugary soda, so it tastes more like a spritzer, but a little Truvia (stevia) helped to sweeten it up perfectly. Strawberries are in season right now and they were so perfect in this, but you could also buy some frozen strawberries to keep on hand and they would work  as well.

Strawberry Lime Spritzer
Makes 1

4 - 6 strawberries, stemmed & chopped
3 - 4 thin slices of lime
lime flavoured sparkling spring water
1 - 2 tsp Truvia (or stevia) --- sugar would also work in a pinch

Using a fork, mash your chopped strawberries.
Place in a glass. Add 2 - 3 lime wedges and then pour in your sparkling water. I added the Truvia at the end and gave it a little careful, mine foamed up and overflowed a wee bit! Add more Truvia to your desired sweetness.  Use additional lime slices & strawberries to garnish.

Strawberries with stems --- too cute!

Oops! Watch out for spillage.


Whoa baby

*Note: Make this up about 15 - 20 minutes before serving. I found the flavours of the limes and strawberries came through much better after soaking for a bit*

I give you the bomb-digity of summer bevies!

Do you have a favourite restaurant that you like to visit when you're on vacation?

What's your favourite summertime drink ~ alcholic nor non?

Have a great Thursday & stay cool my friends,


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

What I Ate Wednesday ~ Back on the healthy train

Happy Wednesday! Oh how I've missed you over the past couple of weeks :)

There was only one thing that I really, really wish I'd snapped a picture of last week. Gigi's Cupcakes!!! Have you heard of them? Tried them? Do you love????? {SIGH} I <3 them with a passion. My faves were Merry Margarita and Southern Comfort. Hands down my fave cupcakes ever but perhaps not the most responsible of snack choices when we're supposed to be focussing on healthy and responsible snacks --- all in moderation my friends, all in moderation ;-), ahem....let's stop talking about all my indiscretions and focus on all the good stuff I've been munching on since I got home from Nashville. I promise that I've redeemed myself with some healthy yumminess.


Egg white scramble with veggies, cheddar and a pinch of cajum seasoning to spice things up. With coffee, of course!

Pre-workout, I've been really lovng a plain brown rice cake with natural PB & J --- tastes like my childhood!

Fresh fruit is also another current fave. Fresh local strawberries are pure heaven!!!

Salads and more salads....unfortunately, I've been more interested in catching up on my fave blogs during my lunch breaks and I've munched my salads down without so much as a picture. I've been sticking to my fave combo of  sundried tomatoes, goat cheese and dijon -- always a winner in my book!

Spicy & Mexican. Yummmmmm......brown rice topped with black beans, corn and veggies followed by white cheddar con queso, jalapenos, black olives, tomatoes, guac and plain Greek yogourt. Holy deliciousness. This was last night's dinner. HEAVENLY good.

So, there are some of my eats....what have you been munching on this week? If you're looking for more snacking and meal inspiration, head on over and visit Jenn at Peas & Crayons and check out her weekly WIAW party. You'll find tons and tons of foodie ideas over there!

What is your fave cupcake flavour?

Do your eating habits tend to change depending on the season?

Have a great day and check back tomorrow for a refreshing bevie recreation!


Monday, June 18, 2012

Absences and Rednecks

Hiya! So here I am again after yet another hiatus from this little blog of mine. So, yeah....I dropped off the map without any warning or notice, but it was for a very good reason and I had true intentions on blogging and posting, but you know how it goes, sometimes plans change :)

My dad has been desperately waiting for approval from his insurer to proceed with a much needed back surgery. He's been living with alot of discomfort, and at times, excruciating pain in his back yet his insurer did not deem the surgery as 'necessary'. Finally, after alot of applications, paperwork, appeals and more paperwork the surgery was approved and within the span of about 5 days his surgery was booked and completed!

I ended up flying to Nashville last Sunday and on Tuesday, my dad was wheeled into the operating room while my mom and I hung out together waiting for the news that all went well. I'm happy to report that all did go as expected, but my dad has been feeling less than stellar as he starts his recovery. After four fused disks and eight bones spurs being removed he is feeling pretty awful, but in the end we are hopeful that all of the pain and discomfort will be worth it. So instead of blogging and cooking up a storm as usual, I've spent the better part of a week sitting in a hospital room with my parents.

I flew home late on Friday night and it's taken me a few days to get my groove back. I've gotta tell ya that as much as I love to travel and to hang out with my fam, I do not do well without plans. I felt like I was in a fog all last week....sitting around all day long can really mess with ya. I had to ask more than once what day it was!

I packed really light and I didn't bring my Canon Rebel with me on this trip. Instead I took my trusty ol' point and shoot and I took one, yes one, lonely pic.....and this was it.

Pretty sad huh?! LOL ... my mom and I stopped at Opry Mills Mall to pick up some of Gigi's Cupcakes (now THESE are what I should have been taking pics of --- AH-MAZE-ING!!!!) & this was parked next to us when we came back out of the mall. Um, can you say redneck?! God how I love the south! :-D

Anyways, please make sure to check back this week --- I'm working on my What I Ate Wednesday post as you read this, I have a recipe recreation planned for Thursday and then who knows what might be up my sleeve?! It's supposed to be SUPER hot and humid this week, so I'm thinking lots of cool and refreshing eats might be in order!

Do you like to travel on the fly or are you more of a planner?
What is the funniest redneck thing you've ever spied?

Have a fabulous day and I'll see ya on the flipside,


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

WIAW: Salads & Snackage

Howdy and welcome to yet another What I Ate Wednesday post!
As you can see from my title, this isn't going to be an ordinary WIAW post. This month my focus is on eating at least one salad per day and the lovely Miss Jenn, host with the most of this weekly party, has challenged us to also focus on sensible snacking. Well I'm definitely an expert when it comes to snackage, so I'm thinking this month's eats are going to be super wickedly delish!

Instead of seeing 'a day in the life' of my eats, I've decided to flip back into my Instagram and Twitter pics and show you some of my most awesome salads and snacks of late. Hopefully I'll motivate you to get all crazy and *gasp* jump on the healthy train with me.

Are ya game?!

Here goes nothin'....


First off, check out some of my most excellent snacks...

LUNA Bars rock my world!

Chopped apple with natural peanut butter gives a boost of energy to get through the workday.

SMOOTHIES!!! Love, love, love anytime of day!
My usual mix includes vanilla protein powder, vanilla almond milk, 1 frozen banana and some other frozen fruit. Sometimes I add spinach too!

....and my most excellent salads....

Grilled Veggie Salad with Black Beans & Quinoa on a bed of mixed greens - super filling!
I love this type of salad when I need something to keep me fueled for an after work sweat session.

Asian Crunch Salad
(mixed greens, peppers, slivered almonds, crunchy sticks, shredded cabbage and a sesame dressing)

Mixed Greens with goat cheese, chickpeas & sundried tomatoes...and dijon of course!
Add a slice of pizza and you pretty much have perfection :-D

Broccoli & Chickpea Salad with a veggie quesadilla --- yummers!

Like whatcha see? Follow me on Twitter (@Vegvacious) if you want to see my eats on a daily basis - I try to take pics of at least one or 2 meals each day....for more foodie inspiration, head on over to visit Peas & Crayons to see what other bloggers have been noshing on this week.

What's your favourite "sensible" snack?

 What's your favourite type of bar? I love LUNA Bars, Pure Bars & Clif Bars.

Have a great day,


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Dogs Love Treats Too!

Happy Tuesday! I hope your week has started off fabulously....

I am so happy to finally be getting around to a post that I've been meaning to do for ages. This blog is devoted to finding health and happiness and just pure enjoyment of life. Two of the biggest enjoyments in my life are these 2 guys. I'm constantly talking about my healthy eats and treats and sharing tips and recipes and today I want to devote a post to my "kids" because their health and quality of life is pretty freakin' important to me as well!

We don't feed much people food to our dogs and their daily diet consists of a high quality dry dog food. As far as treats go, I often create my own conctions, which are healthy and I assume delicious by the drooling dogs that I have to trip over to get to the treat jar! It's also alot easier on my wallet (because we go through alot of treats in a day!) and then I can have total control over what ingredients are going into my doggies' goodies. This is especially important because when Hank was about 6 months old, he experienced a pretty severe allergic reaction that caused the skin on his back to break into open sores. Before going through the expensive task of allergy testing, our vet suggested that we try cutting out some common allergens to see if we could figure out what the problem was. After some experimentation, we came to the conclusion that he was having problems with wheat and we have attempted to avoid most grains since then.

It's amazing how many pet food products contain wheat and it's been a challenge to find high-quality treats that are wheat free and TASTE GOOD. Our furkids can be pretty particular and think nothing of spitting out a treat if it isn't up to their 'standards'. Do you see why we have a sign at our house that says "Spoiled Rott'n Dogs Live Here"?? I swear they think they're high society or something ;-)

One of Hank & Dora's fave treats is a super easy mixture that I've been dying to share with all of my dog-loving followers. It's super easy to whip together, you probably have all of the ingredients in your kitchen and YOUR DOGS WILL LOVE THEM.

*Now I just want to note that these treats do contain meat. I have experimented with vegetarian food & treat options in the past, but they just don't work for my guys - I guess they take more after their dad ;-)*

Healthy Wheat-Free Dog Treats
Makes 1 large mason jar full of yummy treats

1 lb ground meat (we use venison usually but any type of ground meat will do)
1/2 apple, grated
1/2 c carrots, shredded (I used matchsticks which worked well too)
1 egg
1/2 c oats
1/2 lg sweet potato, steamed, peeled & mashed

Preheat your oven to 350. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, mix all of the ingredients together. Press flat onto your cookie sheet. It will stretch out to cover most of your cookie sheet and should be approximately a 1/2" thick.

Bake at 350 for 1 hr. Remove the cookie sheet from the oven and score the treats with a knife. I cut mine into small 1" x 1" squares. Reduce the heat in your oven to 200 and bake for another 40 minutes until the treats are quite dry. Keep an eye because they will get dark, but you don't want them to burn!

Remove from the oven and allow to cool. When the treats are cool enough to handle, break them apart and store them in an airtight jar or container. I use a large mason jar and the treats fit perfectly.

This is an old dog treat recipe that I've had forever. It's a real winner at our house!

Use whole, all natural ingredients to make a very healthy and tasty treat!

The treats are done when it's quite dry around the edges. They're chewy and more like a jerky rather than a moist meaty type of treat.

Mason jars make the best storage for these types of things.
Seal 'er up and store the treats in the refrigerator.

*Note: you might want to let the man or kids in your life know that these are dog treats because inevitably someone will feel compelled to try these. Of course, they won't hurt them, so if you're cruel like me, you can always let them know after their first bite ;-)

I made a batch of these treats last weekend while the dogs were playing outside. When I let them in, they ran straight to the kitchen and this is where I found them....

Notice how Hank always looks like he's smiling?? 
Dora is very serious about her treats. She wants them all and she wants them now haha!

These treats will get you lots of sits, downs, shake a paws and smooches on command. I think mine would even do back flips if they could figure out how to do that!

Do you or someone you know treat their pets more like people than animals? We totally do!

Have a great day and I'll see you tomorrow with my weekly WIAW post!


Monday, June 4, 2012

Weekend Rundown

Happy Monday! Did you have a wonderful weekend?

Despite the gray and rainy weather, our weekend was pretty great. It started out on Friday night when we headed out for drinks and a little karaoke. After a bit of "liquid courage", I might have sang a little of this.....

....and this...

I'm not exactly Sara Evans or Sheryl Crow, but I can hold my own :)

Derek and I headed out bright and early on Saturday morning and went for breakfast at our favourite greasy spoon. I was hurtin' just a wee bit from Friday night and I totally indulged in a greasy breakfast that included homefries and an egg & cheese wrap. It was soooo good and I devoured it like a person who'd been starved for a week. Derek got pancakes and they were awesome! I ate part of his and most of mine and was STUFFED! I really think we need to make some homemade pancakes in the near future --- it's been way too long since we've made them at home and I have an awesome recipe from scratch {I'd forgotten all about that recipe until today. I'm thinking that I'll have to share it with you very soon!!!}.

After breakfast, Derek headed down to the baseball field to do some work because their home opener was scheduled for yesterday and I ran around and did the usual errands and groceries. Other than that, the day was pretty relaxed....I cleaned the house, finished reading Catching Fire (the 2nd book in the Hunger Games series) and hit the sack by 11 p.m. which is fairly early for us on the weekend.

I didn't get groceries last week after our weekend away, so we had alot of re-stocking to do...

Sunday was a super relaxed day. I slept until 9 a.m. --- I felt amazing! I lounged around drinking coffee and watching made-for-TV movies.

I am LOVING the new Starbucks K-Cups! Starbies at home = Sunday morning bliss :)

Derek's baseball game got cancelled because of  rain, so we ended up being able to veg out at home all day long. I made some dog treats, finished laundry and watched lots of TV :) It was wonderful!

The rain stopped in time for us to barbecue for dinner. As you can see I'm still doing well at the Salad a Day challenge. I've had one everyday so far!

Dinner last night was a veggie burger on a flat bun and
a grilled veggie salad with black beans & quinoa.

Every now and again it's  nice to have a nice relaxing weekend, wouldn't you agree? I feel refreshed and rested and am looking forward to a very productive workout schedule is planned and so are my meals, so I'm confident that this week's going to be a great start to meeting all of my June goals.

Here's a peek at this week's menu:

Mango or Berry Smoothies
Egg White Scrambles
Greek Yogourt with Fruit

Lots and lots of SALADS!!!

Make-Our-Own Pizza
Grilled Vegetable Salad with Quinoa (& Beef Tenderloin for Derek)
Burgers and Homemade Fries/Sweet Tater Fries
Mexican (not sure exactly what this will be yet)
Quesadillas with Black Bean/Avocado Salad
Steak (Derek)/BBQ Tofu (me) with grilled  veggies

Have you ever been out for karaoke? If you have and you had the nerve to sing, what song did you choose?

What is your favourite day of the week and why?

Have a great day,


Friday, June 1, 2012

Challenging Myself and an Awesome Broccoli Salad

Happy Friday my friends! This week was a short one for me and it's flown by. Life/Work continues to be crazy busy, so I'm looking forward to putting my feet up and doing some relaxin' this weekend. Hopefully the weather is warm and sunny (they're calling for rain, but I can always hope!), so that I can finally pull out our patio furniture and soak up some rays.

Yesterday I saw a post by one of my bloggie friends, Kelly. She did a recap of some challenges that she set for herself at the beginning of May and then updated us on how she did. I like the idea of putting my plans in writing, so that I can keep focused on the things that I'd like to accomplish. To keep myself on track, I'm going to share my June goals with you.... 

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Ahem, obviously there a couple of reasons why I'm drawn to this image ;-)

Here goes.....

  1. Eat a salad a day. Angela has started this challenge and I intend to eat my greens If you think this is a challenge you'd like to do, check out Ange's post and join in the fun! It's always more fun to do a challenge and get healthy with friends to encourage and support you. Follow My Salad a Day Pinterest board for some ideas too!
  2. Practice using my new camera - you may recall that Derek got me a new Canon Rebel T3i for Christmas. For some reason, using it intimidates the hell outta me. I took it with me when we visited my family last weekend and some of my pictures are phenomenal. My goal is to use it everyday, so that I can get more comfortable with the settings and create much better photos for the blog.
  3. Create a vision board. Listen, I have been trying to do this for months but I just never get around to it! I have the board and I have some images, so all I need to do is put everything together.
  4. Implement a weekly workout routine that I can stick to that incorporates both cardio and weights. Another thing that intimidates me?? Using the weights at the gym. This is one of my 'issues' that I'm determined to overcome. I'd also like to get into the habit of working out before work at least 3 days per week.
So there you have it....easy peasy right?! I'll keep you updated on how it's going and then make sure you check back at the end of the month to see how I did.

...Are you guys still with me???? I know this post is a bit on the lenghthy side, but I hope you're still here because I also have an amazing broccoli salad to share. If you think you're going to participate in the salad a day challenge, this will definitely help you to start off on the right foot.

Mediterranean Broccoli & Chickpea Salad
Serves 4 to 6

6 c chopped broccoli
2 c chickpeas
1/3 c sliced black olives
1/2 c thinly sliced red onion
1/2 c of the best dressing ever - recipe here
sundried tomatoes & goat cheese (or feta) for topping

Add the broccoli, chickpeas, black olives & red onion. Toss with the dressing and refrigerate for at least one hour. Top with a sprinkling of sliced sundried tomatoes and cheese.

This would be great to serve at a barbecue with family & friends.

For a total 'party in your mouth' experience, chop your broccoli into quite small pieces so you can get a taste of everything in each and every bite :)

This is a great salad to make ahead and take for lunch or serve it as a side.

Last night I had it with the best quesadilla combo on the planet.
(Patience peeps...quesadilla recipe to come)

Do you have any goals or challenges this month?

Do you have any newbie photographer tips? All of these pics were taken with my Canon --- I love using it and can't wait to get better!