Friday, August 31, 2012

High Five for Friday - What I Love About Summer

Happy Friday! TGIF and welcome to the last long weekend of the summer. You know how I love my long weekends. I am ready to be done with this workday and home with 3 long luxurious days off ahead. Since it's the last Friday of what I consider to be the summer, I thought I'd focus my High Five for Friday on some of my favourite things from this summer. I am going to go a wee bit went a lot crazy on this one and am well over 5, but I have a feeling you'll forgive me!


Do you like the whole High Five for Friday theme? Check out what other bloggers have been loving by clicking here to visit Lauren's link party.

First and foremost, I'd have to say that my garden has been the absolute best. Are you sick of hearing about it yet?! I thought I would be sick-to-death of going there by now, but I'm not in the least! It changes so much over the course of a few days and I've had so much success that I think I may have caught the gardening bug. I'm also loving all the fresh produce; I'm saving a ton of money at the grocery store and I am enjoying the freshest of fresh veggies on a daily basis. I'm already thinking about how I will plan everything out next year, so that I can fit more stuff in my small plot of dirt.

The Toby Keith at Rogers Bayfest 2012 was another highligh of our summer. So. Much. Fun. This is the only concert that we've had time to get to. Outdoor concerts are the best and I'm hopeful that we'll be able to make it to a couple more before the weather gets too chilly.

You gotta have a red solo cup at a Toby Keith concert!!

Lifting weights is another love that I've developed over the past couple of months. It all started with Jamie Eason's LiveFit trainer and even though I'm only loosely following it right now as my schedule permits, I've discovered that I love working my large muscle groups with weights. I had to step WAY out of my comfort zone to even enter the free weights area just a few short weeks ago and now I try to incorporate some sort of a weights routine into every workout. Who would've ever thought?! I'm so excited to see how my body transforms over the coming months :-)

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Source: Pinterest via Amy Smith

Another thing I've totally been loving is shellac manicures. I am a nail biter in situations where I'm tense, anxious or bored. I love the look of painted nails that have a little length and the shellac manicures have helped keep my nails strong (and bite free) so that I could grow them out. Having fingernails painted for 2 to 3 weeks without so much as a chip is awesome ---- I won't do it all the time because the acetone can wreak havoc on your nails and cuticles, but it is absolutely perfect for vacations or special events! This is the manicure I had done at LimeBlu last Saturday.

And finally, I've have some link love for some of my fave posts of the summer ~

Favourite Summer of 2012 Recipes
Bananarama Protein Pancakes
Raspberry Cheesecake Protein Pops
Jenn's Triple Bean Veggie Burgers
Sommer's Vegan Garden Style Chili
Brittany's Garlicky Kale
Courtney's Light & Tasty Zucchini Casserole
Janetha's Slow Cooked Apple Cinnamon Steel Cut Oats 

Favourite Summer of 2012 Posts
Negative Thoughts Are Wasted Space by Lindsay of The Lean Green Bean
9 Ways to Have a Productive Work Day by Angela at Oh She Glows
In 2011 I Had $3 in My Pocket by Kris at i heart wellness
Lucky to Be Able to Run by Theodora at Losing Weight in the City

Whew! Now that's what I call a post to cap off the summer.

What is one your most favourite things/memories from this summer?

Have a wonderful long weekend!


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

What I Ate (at the end of Summer) Wednesday

Howdy! And welcome to the last What I Ate Wednesday of summer! Okay, okay I know it's not technically the last day of summer, but the end of August means cooler nights, shorter days and sending the kiddos back to their regular school routine.

It also means that my body is a hot mess of cravings: I'm trying to make the most of the few precious weeks we have left of fresh, local produce, but my belly is CRAVING comfort food in a really bad way! So far I've managed a pretty good balance of the two, but if I'm being really honest, I have to admit that I can't wait for the aroma of veggies roasting in the oven or of baked casseroles on a Sunday afternoon

{excuse me while I wipe the drool from my chin}

Here's a peek of my eats from yesterday:

Monica's Banana & Coconut Steel Cut Oats (another slow cooker recipe!)

Half a toasted tomato sandwich with a side of cottage cheese and Baked Lays creamy dill chips. One of my co-workers is always tempting me with tasty treats and snacks. I took one bite of these chips and now I'm hooked. She brought me some in today and I inhaled them ;-) I've promised myself that I shall not buy a bag to bring home because it will be G.O.N.E. before I get in the door!

One of Jenn's Triple Bean Veggie Burgers (go make these right now!!) dressed up with a little tzaztiki and some baked sweet potato rounds. This meal was amazing!

I didn't catch pics of yesterday's snacks, but all I ate was a peach in the morning and that was it! 

What was your favourite meal from yesterday? If you have foodie-block and need some  meal inspiration, head on over and check out Jenn's What I Ate Wednesday page for tons and tons of ideas!!

Are you still in summer eating mode or have you started to crave the warm, savoury comfort food of Fall?

Have a great day,


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Zucchini Cheddar Egg Muffins

Morning, friends! Welcome to the last Tuesday of August. Crazy right?!

Lately you've seen many ramblings and brags about my garden and finally we are seeing the produce that I've been very (im)patiently waiting for. Lettuce, green beans, cherry tomatoes and boatloads of zucchini are what's in season at my house right now. I've been able to share the lettuce, beans and tomatoes with family & co-workers, but the zucchini count is starting to get a wee bit out of control.

So far, I've made ~

- my dad's goulash

I still have 2 1/2 zucchinis at home and several little baby ones growing away in the garden. Is anyone in need of zucchini?? I would be very happy to share! :-)

On Sunday, I did a little meal prepping for the week and one of the things that I cooked up was a batch of egg muffins. These are great because you can make them on the weekend and store them in the refrigerator for a week. I often pack them in my lunch or pop a couple in the microwave for breakfast on the go. I got the idea after I made Courtney's zucchini casserole. I mean really, can you go wrong when you mix zucchini and cheddar together?!  I think not.  

Zucchini Cheddar Egg Muffins
Recipe adapted from He & She Eat Clean
Makes 12 egg muffins

1 1/2 c shredded zucchini
1/2 c mushrooms, diced
1/2 c onions, diced
3/4 c shredded cheddar cheese
4 eggs
14 egg whites
1 tsp Italian seasoning
sea salt & fresh ground pepper to taste

Preheat your oven to 375. Grease your muffin tin well.

Place zucchini, mushrooms & onion in a large bowl and mix well. Fold in 1/2 cup of the shredded cheese. Scoop the veggie mixture into the muffin tins. Fill each cup about 2/3 to 3/4 full.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs & egg whites. Stir in your spices.

Pour the egg mixture over the vegetable mixture filling each muffin cup. Leave a little room because the egg will puff up & expand as it bakes.

Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup of cheese over the egg mixture in each muffin cup.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes.

Once baked, remove from the oven and allow to cool for approximately 10 minutes.

Slide a knife around the edges of each egg muffin and carefully remove each one and place it on a cooling rack.

Once the egg muffins are completely cooled, store in an airtight container in the fridge.

I know this muffin tin is old and ugly but that's because it's been well loved <3

One thing I would caution is that non-stick spray is not the most effective when trying to get these little muffins out of the tin. Even though I used a knife to cut around the edges and a fork to oh so gently lift the muffins up and out, several of them came out with a messy looking bottom. Lucky for me, the ugliness did not affect the taste - these are tasty little bites if I do say so myself! Next time I'm going to grease my pan with shortening and I hope that will make the whole muffin removal procedure a little easier and more successful.

Here are some other zucchini recipes on my radar to try over the next couple of weeks ~  

Do you have any great zucchini recipes that I should try? Please leave your link below.

Enjoy your day,


Monday, August 27, 2012

Relaxin', Sweatin' & Plannin'

Good morning & happy Monday! Did you have a wonderful weekend? I had a lovely, relaxing weekend. The weather was HOT ~ we appear to be in the midst of yet another heat wave here in Ontario! The dogs went out in the mornings and evenings but pretty much snoozed the days away beside the A/C.

Here's a few pics that I managed to capture on my phone:

I was up early yesterday and decided to head out for a quick run before it got too hot. I was out the door by about 8:45 a.m. and went for a 30 minute run/walk (1 min run, 1 min walk, repeat 12 times). Let me tell ya, it was steamy! I was okay while running (which felt great by the way!) but when I finished and got home, the sweat just poured outta me. My face was red and my shirt was soaked --- now that's the way I like to end a workout --- I was a hot, schweaty, calorie-burning mess! So far my right knee feels good. I'm hoping I can start adding a couple runs per week into my workout schedule because my friends and I are hoping to do a Halloween-themed run in a few weeks where we can wear costumes. I believe it's a 5K and I'd like to be able to run it if my body will let me.

Like I promised, I also did some meal planning and workout planning this weekend ---- I am determined for life to be back to normal this week.

Planning = Success

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


- Breakfasts: protein pancakes, slow cooker steel cut oats, egg white scrambles

- Lunches - zucchini cheddar egg muffins, salads, leftovers, Greek yogourt with fruit, cottage cheese

- Dinners: garden veggie chili, grilled apple & cheese sandwiches with side salad, roasted beet soup, burgers (meat for D & bean for moi) with homemade fries, BBQ ('shrooms for me & steak/shrimp for D)with taters & veggies, leftovers once, eat out once


Sunday - 30 minute run/walk
Monday - rest
Tuesday - 30 minute run/walk
Wednesday - shoulders with 30 minute cardio at gym
Thursday - back/biceps with 20 minute cardio or a weights/cardio class mix at the gym
Friday - rest
Saturday - kundalini yoga

What are your plans for the coming week?

What was the highlight of your weekend?

Have a great day,


Friday, August 24, 2012

High Five for Friday

Howdy folks! Welcome to Friday. We made it --- another work week is almost complete.

High five to that!


So, what's been making you grin from ear-to-ear this week?

Here are a few things that have sent me to my 'happy place' ~

okay, that kinda sounds dirty, or maybe it's just me & my dirty l'il mind....
anywho, you know what I mean!

Jack's Special Medium Salsa from Garden Fresh Gourmet.
This salsa is the best! It is so fresh.  I got it at Costco for under $5.

My new fave breakfast: slow cooker steel cut oats

I made my first batch yesterday - apple cinnamon oats to be exact -  and I've been daydreaming about all sorts of new combos that I'm going to try --- I'm thinking peaches & cream and then a savoury version are in my very immediate future.

My Husband

We've been through good times and hard times, stressful times and joyful times.
No one said life was easy, but it is so much better when I'm with my man!

Life has been crazy and hectic and we've barely had time to say hello as we've passed
each other in the door --- I felt like he deserved a little love this week ~ xo

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My favourite flower as Fall approaches. I love a bouquet of sunflowers in the kitchen this time of year.

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Source: Pinterest via Suzanne Freitas

This DIY tutorial for a racerback tank.

I did it, I loved it, I'm gonna do it again!

If I can do it, anyone can because I don't have a crafty bone in my body!

When I workout, I want to be a schweaty mess when I'm done. I don't need to spend $50 on a tank for that --- this homemade version is awesome! I'm planning to pull out some old vintage rockband tees and turn them into something fun (& useful!)

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Check out the tutorial here from Blogilates.

So these are just a few things that are making me smile this week. I was lucky because I've had a really good week and there were lots of things I could have shared today!

Thanks to Lauren for continuing to host this weekly link-up party!

What are some of your high five highlights from the week?

Have an excellent day and a most fabulous weekend!

Ciao for now,


Thursday, August 23, 2012

In the Mood for Comfort Food

Ah.....warm days, cool nights. That's what we've been having here in Southwestern Ontario and it's been absolute perfection.

My tastebuds and cravings have been all over the map. I can't help but stop everytime I pass a nearby veggie stand, yet my oven has definitely been on alot more this week than it has been since early Spring. 

Dare I say that I'm starting to look forward to Fall and the comfort food that comes with?! As much as I love the fresh, summer produce I think I am. Fall is my favourite time of the year and I am ready to welcome it with open arms.

As soon as I got home last night, I cut into a fresh cantalope that I'd bought. In order to use up all the produce that I buy, I'm one of those people that needs to wash and cut my fruit and veggies right away. If I leave it for another day, it often ends up spoiling before I ever get to it.

This was one of those melons that smelled of sweetness as soon as you put it up to your nose. I had a feeling it was going to be really good and I was right!! It was the best cantalope that I have ever, and I mean EVER, eaten. I chopped the entire melon up, ate a bunch right outta the bowl, made a sweet treat that I'm hoping to share with you real soon and packed up a couple of containers, so I could take some melon to work with me today and tomorrow.

After my melon, I got to work making homemade tomato soup for dinner and topped it with some shredded cheddar. Yummers!!!

After dinner, I was procratstinating so I wouldn't have to clean the bathroom in the mood for more kitchen creativity, so I decided to try a couple of recipes that I'd found online recently.

First, I made some Whole Wheat Banana Peach Muffins (recipe by Jenna at eat, live, run). These were so tasty! I loved them so much that I may have eaten three last, I am not joking and there is no strikeout being used here my friends :)

I also decided to make some slow cooker oatmeal for breakfast this morning. Slow Cooker?!?! Whoa....that definitely screams Fall right?!  I  made Janetha's slow cooked apple cinnamon steel cut oats. Talk about waking up to heaven in your very own home. The smell of apples and cinnamon greeted me at the door when I got up this morning. This oatmeal might be my new all-time favourite breakfast --- it is DELICIOUS!! I bought steel cut oats at the bulk store a few months ago, but I really didn't know what to do with them. Boy, do I know now!! Go check out the recipe and check out the other links that Janetha shares in her post. I'm thinking some banana coconut oats might be in this girl's immediate future.

What is your favourite oatmeal combo?

So now I am fueled and off to work for the day. I hope you have a great one!


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

What I Ate Wednesday Goes Green!

Hiya and welcome to Wednesday :-D

Apparently GREENS are this week's must-have summer staple because there's been alot of GREEN  taking over my kitchen!  Check out the latest produce picked from my garden ~

Zucchini, head lettuce, leaf lettuce, beans and my very first pepper!

I've been giving oodles of produce away and still my fridge is overflowing with all of this green loveliness. That is not a bad problem to have!!

I've been incorporating lots of veggies into my recent eats. Check it out:


Toasted scrambled egg sandwich with avocado & salsa!


Mixed green salad with grape tomatoes, shredded cabbage & carrots, spicy peanut tofu and a quinoa/bulger mix. Why do all the salad fixin's always end up at the bottom of the bowl?!?!

 Another awesome lunch from earlier this week was cottage cheese
and some leftover Orzo Spinach Greek Salad from the weekend.


Well this 'green' didn't come from my garden, but it is definitely one of the best foods on the planet. Plain brown rice cake with smashed avocado and a pinch of sea salt. Best. Snack. Ever.

Oven roasted butternut squash with Courtney's Light & Tasty Zucchini Casserole.



I'm happy to be back into a routine at home and my meals are getting much more back to the normal clean eats that my body loves best.

Thank you to Jenn for continuing to host this weekly link up par-tay. Make sure you head on over to her site to see what staples other bloggers must have on hand this summer.

What are your must-have summertime foods?

Have a great day!


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

...just not enough time...

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This literally sums up the way I feel about the past 3 weeks.
Life has been a whirlwind of excitement, planning, organizing, fundraising and trying to keep up with work. I've loved every minute of it because I've been supporting my husband and helping him to live out one of his dreams ---- it's been awesome, but I am SO thankful that it is short-term!

I have let my normal priorities slip. 
Working out and eating healthy were temporarily pushed to the sidelines because
I simply did not have the energy at the end of the day to make a plan and execute.

And let me tell ya, I have been feeling the results.
I feel sluggish, I'm tired, my breakouts are back and I just feel plain 'gross'.

If you're wondering about how LiveFit's going, I can tell you that it's not.
I have hit a speed bump my friends.

The good news is that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and I expect to be back to 'normal', or as normal as Derek & I can be ;-) within the next 8 - 10 days.


I am proud of myself because I have been able to 'just let it go' & enjoy living in the moment.

I've enjoyed the moment and now I'm ready to get back at it!!!

I miss the freakin' gym and I miss how great I felt, both physically and mentally,
when I was exercising and eating clean.

Healthy feels amazing and I am so ready to have that feeling back!

Moral of the story: Live in the moment. Sometimes we are going to go off track - you need to recognize it, forgive yourself and then get back to biz-ness!

My plan: Get back to consistently eating clean and catch a couple of classes at the gym, go to yoga on the weekend and do some run/walks at home with the furkids. Next weekend there's going to be a whole lotta meal and workout planning goin' on 'round these parts :-)
Do you ever fall off track? How do you get back into a normal routine?

Happy Tuesday!!


Friday, August 17, 2012

Peach Vanilla Chai Smoothie Bowl

Mmmm Breakfast.
The most important meal of the day.

It is so important to eat your first meal shortly after waking. I usually eat within the first hour, so that my body is fueled and ready to tackle the day. Eating a healthy breakfast not only gives your bod the kickstart it needs to start performing for the day, but it also gives your metabolism a kick in the butt to get working and we all want that metabolism to be working to its fullest potential, right?! :-)

I've always been a breakfast eater. When I get up in the morning, the first things I think are *get me mah coffee* and *what's for breakfast* --- you may notice that I often speak from the tummy ;-)

Usually I prefer warm savoury breakfasts, but we've had such a warm summer that I've found myself craving foods that are cool and refreshing.

Smoothies fit right into those requirements, but I never feel like a drink is enough to fill me up, so I decided to try my own 'smoothie in a bowl' combo and see if I could add a little bulk to make my smoothie 'stick to my ribs' a little longer. As bulk, I added oats, chia and some Vega One Vanilla Chai shake powder. I ended up make a huge, THICK shake and it was awesome! I ate half before I left for work, half when I arrived at work and was satisfied until noon.

I had some Niagara peaches left that were starting to get too soft, so I used them in my smoothie, but you can certainly use any fruit/veggie combo that suits ya.

Peach Vanilla Chai Smoothie Bowl
Makes one big-ass smoothie bowl for one hungry gal ;-)

1 large peach, chopped into chunks - I froze mine the night before
1/2 - 1 large frozen banana
1 serving Vega One Vanilla Chai nutritional shake powder *optional
1/4 c oats
1 tbsp chia seeds
3/4 c almond milk (or milk of your choice)
1/2 c water
1/2 tsp pure vanilla

*Note: If you do not use a protein powder that is naturally sweetened, you may want to add some sweetener or use vanilla sweetened almond milk - stevia or maple syrup would also be good sweetener options for this smoothie*

Place all your ingredients into your blender and blend until smooth. Pour into your fave cereal bowl, top with your fave toppings (chopped fruit, nuts, coconut, granola) and eat 'er up!

I got this as a free sample in the mail {score!}
This all-in-one shake mix has a great flavour and doesn't leave a chalky taste in your mouth. It is one of the few powders that I really, really like!

Thick enough to eat with a spoon - yummers!

Cool - check!
Refreshing - check!
Filling - check!
Healthy - check!
Oh so Delicious - check!

This is a new fave of mine for sure!

What is your favourite summertime breakfast?

Have a great day! TGIF!