Friday, September 28, 2012

Friday Faves: Fall Ramblings

It seems like everyone is in love with the Fall season; me included. I hope you're not too sick of hearing about it yet, because I've decided to do a new series called Friday Faves and this week it seemed fitting to start with a Fall theme :)

1. Fall Decor - We love decorating our house and yard for the season! Would you believe me if I told you I made this wreath? The rich earthy colours of Fall are my fave. Derek is always anxious to get a bale of hay and some pumpkins and gourds to decorate our yard. We've already started and just need a couple more mums and some more gourds to finish everything up.

2. Changing Leaves - There are some beautiful areas to hike this time of year as the leaves turn from green to bright hues of red, orange and yellow. I also like walking around our village because there are lots of big ol' trees around our neighbourhood, and lucky for us, hardly any leaves that fall in our yard{win!}

4. PUMPKIN! Love, love, love pumpkin-y foods. I'm planning to use Angela's instructions and try making my own pumpkin puree this year. I see pumpkin lattes, pumpkin bagels, pumpkin pie oatmeal and many more pumpkin-themed meals in my near future!

5. Boots, tights & boot socks ~ SO. COMFY.

6. Fall Fairs & Festivals - They are everywhere around here right now. The radio announced last weekend that there were 39 Fall Fairs going on around Ontario! We love the animals, the food, the rides, the concerts --- yep, just about everything that comes with a fair! This weekend I'm heading to an apple festival with some co-workers in the smallest little town ever. I think small towns put on the best fairs!

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7. Herbal Tea - Typically I'm a coffee addict, but there's nothing more satisfying than a cozy night at home with the fireplace blazing, a fleecy soft blanket and a giant mug of steaming tea. My favourites right now are Indian Spice Chai and Sleepytime Vanilla (both from Celestial).


8. And of course, you're already aware of my love affair with apples. I love me some Honey Crisp apples and already need to stock up for a second time this season. I like them raw, in strudels, pies, cobblers or my favourite easy peasy recipe: crockpot applesauce.

There are so many things I love about Fall, I really could go on and on, but I'd rather hear from you....

What is your most favourite thing about the Fall season?

Have a great day,

Andrea ~ TGIF!!!  

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

What I Ate Wednesday

Howdy! Finally we've arrived at the first Wednesday of Fall....we've all been talking about Fall since Labour Day weekend, but now you just can't deny it ---- it's only 3 short months 'til Christmas ;-)

I joke, I joke {now don't you be cursing me haha}
--- I love Fall and I'd really like it stick around for a while.

We've been super busy lately, so my goals have been pretty simple. Try to find enough time (& energy!) to eat healthy and stay active despite our hectic schedule.

It's been tough to find time to get to the gym, so I'm continuing to work towards my goal of running a 5K in October by running at least twice a week. We live in a rural community, so my runs are so quiet and peaceful....usually it's just me & the cows.

When trying to eat well, my meal planning has been a HUGE help. There's no time wasted figuring out what to make for meals --- I have an idea what we're going to have with all the ingredients on hand. It also discourages frequent nights of take out :)


Slow Cooker Steel Cut Oats is still my go to. I'm getting pretty predictable, aren't I?! I can't help but love them because it takes 5 minutes to put together at night and I wake up to a  hearty, healthy breakfast.


I've been relying on leftovers and make-ahead salads. Yesterday I had garlicky kale, speedy three bean salad and cottage cheese.


I'm going to need some afternoon protein if I'm going to run right after work. I am in love with raspberry cheesecake Greek yogourt (non-fat plain Greek yogourt, lemon juice, stevia, raspberries).


We've had several awesome dinners lately and I couldn't narrow it down to one, so you get to see two from earlier this week.

Last night we had butternut fries with honey dijon and basil scalloped tomatoes with croutons. Those tomatoes are one of my all-time FAVE side dishes; especially when it's made with cherry tomatoes straight from my garden.

Earlier in the week, I had sauted kale with a quinoa/bulger mix, sweet potato rounds and a piece of bruschetta using 12 grain sourdough bread that I got at the farmer's market on Saturday.

For dessert, I made a healthy apple cobbler with the last of my Ginger Crisp apples. All that's missing was some vanilla bean ice cream!


I know there are lots of you reading this who are just as busy as Derek and I. Frankly, I am personally in awe of all you amazing parents out there that manage kids, careers and a home --- I could really use some of your multitasking skills! If you'd like more meal ideas and tips on how to make and keep your goals this Fall, head on over to Peas & Crayons to get your creative juices flowing.

How do you squeeze in healthy eats and exercise when your life gets crazy busy?

What is your favourite apple baked good?

Have a fabulous Wednesday!


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Menu Prepping for the Week

Hey there!

Derek & I are a really busy family of 2. It can be hard to find time to hang out together and when we are lucky enough to spend some time together, the last thing either of us wants to be doing is spending the entire night prepping a meal, washing dishes, prepping lunches for the next day, etc...and let's be honest, when I say "us" and "we", I mean ME :)

I've been making the effort to get more organized on the weekend, so that our weeknight meal and lunch prep can be quick and easy. Not only does it take the pressure off during the week, but it also helps us to stay on course and eat heathy nutritious meals instead of picking up pizza and fast food.

I've said it before and I'll say it again....


Menu planning really isn't that hard to fact, I've talked about it on the blog in the past and most weeks I do take time to make some sort of a plan with respect to our eats.

My meal planning process goes something like this:

1. Browse Flyers and Check the Pantry - We get our flyers on Thursday night. Sometime between Thursday evening and Saturday morning, I take a quick peek to see what's on special. I also take a peek in the fridge, freezer and pantry to see what we have on hand.

2.  Make a Menu - I then take half an hour Friday after work to jot down a menu. I aim to have enough on hand for 5 days' worth of meals, plus a few grab n go snacks.

3. Make a Grocery List - SO IMPORTANT!!! Make a list before you head out to the grocery store and stick to it. As you know, I have a really difficult time sticking to a grocery budget. I'm an impulsive buyer and my fridge and cupboards are packed full of food. Someday I may share a pic....but it's really embarassing --- especially when we often have the nerve to complain that there's nothing to eat!!

4. Buy your Groceries - Saturday mornings are typically when I run errands and do our grocery shopping. I take my list and go to the grocery store, farmers' market and about once a month I try to stop at the Bulk Barn.

5. Prep your Food  - Do you ever buy a ton of fruits and veggies only to have them sit in your crisper until they rot and need to be tossed? This used to happen to us all the time. Now, I make an effort to spend about an hour a week prepping my food, so that we can just grab and go. I chop veggies, cook up rice or quinoa, do up some hard-boiled eggs for Derek, marinate tofu for myself and do any other preparation that's needed for the week. I then store everything in bags or Tupperware containers in the fridge for ease of access all week long.

Planning saves time, money and waste.

This week, I went a little crazy on Sunday and did a whole bunch of prep work. It took me closer to 2 hours to do, but then it literally took me 5 minutes to pack both of our lunches this morning and that makes me one happy girl.

Prep your veggies for soups, salads, stews or just to eat raw throughout the week.

Prep a large quantity of rice or quinoa to add to salads, soups, wraps, stirfries, etc.

Marinated salads are great to make ahead and enjoy all week long.

I store everything in Tupperware and in mason jars in the refrigerator. 

On Sunday, I prepared:

- BBQ crockpot chicken for Derek (for Sunday dinner & another meal of leftovers)
- Brittany's Garlicky Kale Salad
- a Quinoa/Bulger Mix
- Chopped a Watermelon
- Hard Boiled Eggs
- Shredded Zucchini for Oatmeals, Scrambles & Muffins

Here's a peek at what my menu plan looks like this week:

- Cereal & Milk
- Slow Cooker Steel Cut Oats
- Egg/Veggie Scrambles

- Salad Plates (could include: garlicky kale, bean salad, lettuce salad, cottage cheese, pickled beets)
- Hard Boiled Eggs (for Derek)
- Greek Yogourt
- Shredded BBQ Chicken or Tuna Sandwiches (for Derek)
- Chickpea Salad Sandwiches (for me)

- Brown Mini Rice Cakes
- Chopped Watermelon
- Greek Yogourt
- Zucchini Muffins

- BBQ Crockpot Chicken & Veggies (for Derek)
- Sweet Potato Rounds with a Kale/Quinoa/Lentil Mix
- Toasted Tomato Sandwiches with Butternut Squash Fries
- Leftovers (once)
- Homemade Pot Pies (beef for Derek and veggie for me) with Roasted Brussel Sprouts
- Homemade Veggie Noodle Soup and Cheesy Italian Bread

See how many healthy, hearty meals you can whip together in just a matter of a few minutes!

What is your favourite mid-week dinner?

Have a great Tuesday and I'll see you tomorrow with my latest & greatest What I Ate Wednesday post,


Sunday, September 23, 2012


Good morning. How's the weekend been treating you so far?

Yesterday, my friend, Lisa, and I headed out to the Western Fair Farmers' and Artisans' Market. We chatted over coffee and picked up a bunch of locally grown produce. It was a lovely way to spend a Saturday morning. I tried to be inconspicious and snap some pictures on my smartphone, but they all ended up being blurry :) I really haven't gotten the whole "taking inconspicuous" pictures down yet!

It was also really, really busy and you couldn't really stop in the aisles without being the cause of a major traffic jam.

The only decent pic I ended up getting yesterday morning was of the vegan cinnamon bun I picked up for myself :) Gah! You get to see my guilty pleasure, but none of my healthy, locally grown veggies haha.

I haven't tried too many vegan baked goods in the past, but I must say this was heavenly!

So what's on tap for today?

Well, so far I've had an awesome Sunday morning breakfast of french toast, using some sour dough 12-grain bread I picked up at the market yesterday and coffee, obviously :-)

I'm planning to spend the rest of the day prepping some food for the week and hopefully I'll be able to make it out to Derek's baseball game. He's had the pleasure of assistant coaching our local University baseball team. It's an awesome opportunity for him and I really need to get out to cheer on the team!

What do you have planned for this lovely Fall day?

Have a great one and I will see you tomorrow with the deets on my meal planning,


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

What I Ate Wednesday ~ Eating the Rainbow

I do not like to diet.

As soon as I start using the word diet as part of my daily plan,
I send myself down the road to failure.

For me dieting does not work. Healthy, consistent habits do.

One of my goals each and every day is to eat a rainbow of fruits and veggies.
It's easy to do this time of year with all of the fresh stuff that's so readily available.

Here's a sneak peek of my recent rainbow of eats...


Slow Cooked Zucchini Bread Steel Cut Oats
(yes, my garden is still producing oodles of zucchini --- do you want some?!)

Egg, Veggie & Cheese Breakfast Wrap


I've been brown baggin' it lately.
Like I always say ~ Planning = Success

Garlicky Kale
Crockpot Applesauce
Whole Wheat Tortilla with Hummus

Veggie Wrap with Hummus


I haven't taken any recent pics of my snacks, but over the past couple of days,
I've been eating chopped veggies with tzaztiki or a chopped apple.

Lentil Veggie Mac & Cheese
Roasted Beets
(this pic does not do this meal justice - it was fabulous!)

I didn't eat all of this food on the same day (I swear!!!), but I wanted to show you that there are lots of delicious, healthy meal options that are packed full of nutrition.

My challenge to you this week is to make sure there is a rainbow on your plate at each and every meal this week. You'll feel great and your belly with thank you!

Thank you as always to Miss Jenn for encouraging us all to make and keep good habits as we enter into Fall. Make sure you take a few minutes to check out her site to get lots of healthy meal ideas!

I'm tellin' you --- eating healthy is EASY!!

What is your favourite veggie-packed meal?

Have a wonderful day,


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Easy Crockpot Applesauce

It's APPLE season y'all!!!

There are tons of apple orchards located around our community, but can you believe that I've never been apple picking?? I don't have any memories of going as a kid and every year I say I'm going to go, but have yet to get there. I think it's because it's too darn easy to drive 10 minutes down the road to an orchard that's picked them for us. They have a shed and you just go in and help yourself to the apples that they've picked and sorted.

We drove by our 'apple supplier' a couple of weeks ago, but neither Derek or I had any cash on us, so I finally made a point of stopping this past weekend  For $6.50 I got a mix of Ginger Crisp and Honey Crisp apples. They are both soooo good! I love to eat the Honey Crisp fresh and the Ginger Crisp are perfect for baking. They are sweet, yet tart, which is how I like my apple baked goods.

When we were kids, my grandma would often make us homemade applesauce. She had apple trees in her backyard and never let any go to waste....that meant lots of applesauce for the grandkids!!

She always made hers on the stove, but I decided to try my hand at a crockpot recipe and it turned out fabulously!!

It's sweetened oh so slightly with brown sugar, but still has a nice tart apple flavour. I added a wee bit of lemon juice to keep the apples from going brown, but it didn't really work. The colour of the applesauce is quite dark, but I think the darkercolour comes from the teaspoon of cinnamon that I added.

Easy Crockpot Applesauce
Makes 2 1/2 cups

6 c chopped apples*
1 1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 c water

*I did not peel my apples (my grandma never did), but you can peel them if you would like*

Sprinkle the lemon juice over the chopped apples and stir to coat.

Spray your crockpot and place the apples in it. Add the brown sugar, cinnamon and water and stir well to combine. I used my mini  hot dip crockpot, but if you have more than 2 in your family, you might want to double or triple this recipe and use a regular-sized crockpot.
Cook on high for 4 hours, stirring occasionally or on low for 6 to 7 hours.

Store in an air tight container in the refrigerator.

An apple slicer is really nice to have when you need to chop a bunch of apples up!

The aroma of apples & cinnamon is drifting through the entire house by the time
the applesauce starts looking like this! 

I love eating applesauce once it's been chilled. This would be really delicious stirred into oatmeal or served over ice cream as well.

What's your favourite type of apple?

Enjoy the day and I'll see you tomorrow with a new What I Ate Wednesday post,


Monday, September 17, 2012

Wordless Weekend Review

Good morning!

 It was another "lonely girl" weekend at my house while Derek was away coaching baseball.

But not to worry, the dogs kept me company :)

We actually had a really wonderful weekend.

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Source: Pinterest via Jacqui Kemp


What was the highlight of your weekend?

Have a great start to your week and I'll see you tomorrow with an easy peasey recipe,