Friday, March 30, 2012

Super Awesome Snackage: Foodie Penpal Reveal

Happy Friday my friends! Sorry that I've been off grid this week;
I've had a brutal flu & have been totally out of commission for the past few days.

Luckily, I'm starting to feel more like my normal self
and thankfully I'm just in time for my foodie penpal reveal!

This month, my foodie penpal was Carly.
I got my package a couple of weeks ago and this is what I found....

Girlie, you totally get me!!!  
I love snacks and you spoiled me silly with all sorts of snackage that I had never tried before.

In my package, I received:  
  • Lindt Dark Chocolate with Sea Salt (seriously my new fave chocolate combo)
  • Clif Oatmeal Raisin Walnut Bar (I <3 Clif bars)
  • Luna Chocolate Peanut Butter bar (can you go wrong with a chocolate/pb combo?)
  • Pistachios (hello!? My fave nut ever!)
  • Dark & Soya Rice Snack Mix (crunchy & delish)
She also sent me a cute little note telling me that these were some of her fave things...., yeah these are now some of my fave things too!!!

 And as if all this yumminess wasn't enough, she shared her fave granola
recipe from Peanut Butter Fingers. Well you know how much I love me some
granola, so naturally I've already made myself a big ol' batch and I must say
it's simply fabulous and as easy as pie to make.

You can check out the recipe here.

So, I need to send out one more thank you to you can tell, I loved it!

I also need to say thanks to Lindsay for coming up with this monthly penpal shindig.

If you want to see all the goodies, I sent to my Foodie Penpal,
check it out here because I had as much fun buying as I did receiving.
The Lean Green Bean

And now it's time for some details about Foodie Penpals.  In case you’re a new reader, here’s a reminder of what the program is all about:

-On the 5th of every month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact your penpal and get their mailing address and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.
-You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your penpal! 
-The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treats! The spending limit is $15. The box must also include something written. This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a fun recipe…use your imagination!
-You are responsible for figuring out the best way to ship your items depending on their size and how fragile they are. (Don’t forget about flat rate boxes!)
-Foodie Penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers. If you’re a reader and you get paired with a blogger, you are to write a short guest post for your penpal to post on their blog about what you received. If two readers are paired together, neither needs to worry about writing a post for that month. 
-Foodie Penplas is open to US & Canadian residents.  Please note, Canadian Residents will be paired with other Canadians only.

If you’re interested in participating for April, please CLICK HERE to fill out the participation form and read the terms and conditions. You must submit your information by April 4th as pairings will be emailed on April 5th!

If you could send just one thing to a foodie penpal, what would it be?
What is the one thing you MUST have in your granola?

Have a happy Friday and a fabulous weekend!


Monday, March 26, 2012

Roasted Spaghetti Squash With Garlicky Tomatoes & Mushrooms

Good morning and Happy Monday to you!

Did you have yet another beautiful weekend? Saturday was cool and rainy here, but Sunday was right back to the sunshine and warmer temperatures that we've been enjoying!

Did you do anything exciting? My friend, Lisa, and I headed off to the Women's Lifestyle Show on Saturday. The show opened at 9 a.m. and we thought we'd go early and arrived at 9:15 a.m. Apparently everyone else was thinking the same thing because I'd guess there were about 500 women there already! It was a fantastic morning where we checked out tons of local vendors, tasted lots of delicious samples and came home with some super fab swag. I was stoked to get a new Tupperware orange peeler, some new fridge magnets, some soap & lotion samples, magazine samples and lots of brochures and coupons to use this Spring and Summer!? Have you ever been to a trade show that focuses on all things girlie? If you get the opportunity, you should definitely go; it's a lot of fun!!!!

On Saturday night we headed out to support our local hockey team in the semi-final games. It took 2 overtimes and 4 1/4 hours, but WE WON!!! We Canadians love our hockey and can't wait to cheer on our team in the finals.

Yesterday I could barely move when I got up. I was on my feet on cement for soooooo long on Saturday that I was sore, so I decided to take a rest day and skip the gym. It felt nice to have a day at home and my body definitely appreciated the break.

Derek had pizza plans on Sunday for dinner, so I was on my own and I made this awesome spaghetti squash 'pasta'. My squash was teensy weeny and was the perfect size for just me. You could easily double this recipe to make it a meal for your entire family. I loved this because it was such a healthy, fresh AND low fat dinner!

Roasted Spaghetti with Garlicky Tomatoes & Mushrooms
Serves 1 or 2

1 small spaghetti squash
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
pinch sea salt & black pepper
2 1/2 c chopped tomatoes
1 c sliced mushrooms
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 - 3 tbsp extra virgin oil
3 fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced

Preheat your oven to 375.

Cut your spaghetti squash in half. Scrape out the seeds and then brush the squash with extra virgin olive oil and a pinch of sea salt & pepper. Roast for 50 minutes. (the cooking time might vary depending on the size of your squash)

While your squash is roasting, mix together the tomatoes, mushrooms, garlic, 1 1/2 to 2 tbsp of olive oil and another pinch of sea salt & pepper. Pour the mixture onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and roast for 30 minutes.

Once the squash is done roasting, remove from the oven and scrape out the spaghetti strands of squash using a fork.

Once the tomato mixture has finished roasting, stir in your fresh basil. Then top the spaghetti squash with the tomatoes. Drizzle with a splash of olive oil and garnish with a sprig of fresh basil. Serve!

This was the cutest l'il baby squash you ever did see!

I froze some fresh tomatoes last summer and these were the last of them.
The taste is still so fresh and fabulous!

...and fresh basil?! Oh heaven!

Perfect meal :)

What is your favourite sport to watch?

Best meal you ate this weekend?

Have a great Monday!


Friday, March 23, 2012

High Five for Friday

Happy Friday!

I cannot believe we've arrived at the end of yet another gorgeous week
and that it's MARCH 23RD! Where the heck is 2012 going?
It's flying by soooo fast, I feel like I've barely had time to stop & smell the roses. 

We've been experiencing a major heatwave over here in Southwestern Ontario. On Wednesday we beat the previous record high temperature by 10 degrees! All of this warm weather has got me thinking about shorts and tanks and bathing suits...and the fact that our Disney vacation is a mere 9 weeks away!!!

Vacations and beaches and sunshiney weather are all things that make me happy.....

...and here's a peek at some highlights from this past week that have also made me smile...


Positive Motivation

I started running this week with the hopes of running a 5K in May and a 10K in September.

I need to remember this on the days when my legs feels like lead!

Stand Up For Your Feet

Super Sweet Bosses

Both my boss and Derek's boss took their families down south for Spring Break.

And we both got some sweets when they got back!

Dark chocolate covered guava from Costa Rica ~ hubba hubba

Chocolate Britt Guava

Spring Flowers

The first flower that we spied in our flower beds and it was ONLY March 18th!!!

March 18 - in Canada! Unbelievable!!

Best Dinner

My favourite recipe this week was my own Mexi-Lasagna. I've been enjoying it all week!


Love this. And frankly, it quite suits me.

I am not a pretty sight at the end of a workout.

Red face. Sweaty brow. Crazy hair. Yep, that's me, so I guess I'm doin' it right!!
Benefits of Online Workouts

What was the highlight from your week?

Have a great weekend,



Wednesday, March 21, 2012

What I Ate (When It Felt Like Summer But It Wasn't) Wednesday

Hiya! Happy Wednesday and Happy 2nd Day of Spring! :)

It feels great to actually be in the season that we've been enjoying the last couple of weeks. Whatcha think----are we smooth sailing from here on out or are we still going to get another cold blast before Spring really arrives?

I've noticed that our eats have been slowly changing to suit the season. I've had a lot less hot tea and been sucking back kegs of ice water, vitamin water and Perrier with lime. Our meals have also become a lot lighter. Derek's been doing meat and taters on the barbecue and I've been having tons of salads, sammies and green smoothies....I've also been finishing up the popsicles that I bought where Derek was sick. As soon as I get home from a workout, I break one out. I figure I deserve it {wink wink}

So, now that I've rambled your ear off, let's get to the hot topic of the day. What I Ate Wednesday! We're still adding lots of greens to our meals, right?!
Here's a peek at my recent eats.


I'm the kinda gal that loves a grilled cheese for any meal.

These days, I have been in absolute love with a grilled avocado tomato swiss sandwich.
Avocado is one of my all-time FAVE green foods!
I even got Derek to eat one of these [WIN!]


I know it's a huge surprise but I am still on the green smoothie train.
I've have one every day. This green smoothie has
spinach, strawberries, banana, Vanilla Almondilla Vega Shake N Go and water.

Tastes like dessert!


Our boss was in South Beach last week and he brought us back a little treat.
A big bag of Ghirardelli chocolate squares. How lucky are we?!
Ghiradelli Dark Chocolate Square with Salted Caramel Filling has my heart.
Dark Chocolate with Sea Salt Caramel Filling



Spinach Mushroom Pie with Roasted Sweet Potato Bites

I'm still tweaking this recipe, but quiche screams Spring to me, so stay tuned.....

Another Wednesday, another week of great eats. If you're looking for more foodie inspiration, head on over to Peas & Crayons to find lots of other bloggers who are creative and amazing in the kitchen.

And as always, thanks to Miss Jenn for hosting our Wednesday bloggie shindig! 

What is your fave green food?

What do you love most about Springtime?

Have a great day my friends, 


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Spicy Mexi-Lasagna Night

Happy Tuesday!!! I know I'm a little late, but how was your St. Patty's Day Weekend? Ours was totally and completely unbelievable. The weather in Southwestern Ontario continues to be to die for. Usually our temperature at this time of year is 4C and we've been in the low 20s for days!! For those of you who still use Fahrenheit, 20C is really warm!!! The forecast for Wednesday and Thursday is calling for 27 and 28 which is what we usually get in mid-August. We are all counting our lucky stars and praying that all of this amazingness continues right into the summer months!

We should be barbecuing and heading out to the patios for dinner, but since Derek wasn't home last night, I decided to pull together a bunch of food that's been hangin' around in my pantry and make up a layered Mexi-inspired casserole. This one was inspired by a recipe that was posted by Jenn a while back and it didn't disappoint. I tossed in a bunch of veggies that were looking pretty sad and I ended up with a dense and delicious meal. Make sure you have some toppings: sour cream, guac and salsa make this meal amazing!  

Spicy Mexi-Lasagna
Serves 8

9 corn tortillas
1 onion, diced
1 orange pepper, diced (green, red or yellow would be fine!)
1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
1 clove garlic minced
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 packet taco seasoning
2 c black beans
1 1/2 c corn kernels
1can refried beans
2 c salsa
1 1/2 c shredded cheddar (Daiya would work for my non-dairy friends)

Preheat your oven to 400. Grease a deep dish 9" pie plate.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat and spray with non-stick spray. Add the onion, orange pepper, jalapeno and garlic and  cook for 5 - 6 minutes until the veggies are starting to soften.

Add the sea salt, pepper, taco seasoning, black beans and corn and mix well. Cook for an additional 2 - 3 minutes until the mixture is heated through.

Now for the fun part! Assembly!!!

Cover the bottom of your pie plate with corn tortillas. I used scissors to cut apart my tortillas so that the bottom was completely covered. Add half of your refried beans and smooth over the tortillas. Follow with 2 c of your veggie/bean mixture and 1 c salsa. (an extra layer of cheese would be awesome here, but between snapping pics and assembling my pie, I totally forgot!!)

Repeat your layers one more time. Cover the top with more tortillas and then the shredded cheese.

Bake for 30 minutes. Now mine did overflow a wee bit, so you would be wise to stick a cookie sheet underneath.

Once the casserole is cooked through, remove from the oven and let sit for 15 minutes so it has the opportunity to set.

Cut into wedges and serve.

You can spice this up as much as you like. If you're like us, you can amp up the heat with some Frank's red hot, some jalapeno seeds or some red chili pepper flakes.

It's not the most gorgeous looking beast, but it is sooo gooo-oood!!!

Tastes amazing with sour cream and guacamole. A little extra salsa would also be great!

Now I have to tell you this is VERY heavy and filling, so you won't need much on the side. I was going to steam some veggies as a side, but I didn't have room for one more bite!

Did you do anything in celebration of St. Patty's Day?

What is your favourite type of take out? I LOVE LOVE LOVE Mexican and Thai.

Have a fantastic day!


Friday, March 16, 2012

High Five for Friday

I have had a GREAT week. I think it probably has something to do with the warm sunny weather we've had. I've gotten back to a more regular gym routine, I've been cooking and baking up a storm and I just feel awesome.

Life is GOOD.

High Five For Friday

Thanks to Lauren for continuing with our Friday faves link up party!
I love sharing the <3 with y'all!


Here are some highlights from my week that have made me smile:

Sunroofs and Beautiful Weather

Clear blue sky through my brand new sunroof.
Who wouldn't love that??
Feels so good to have the sunroof wide open!!!

My Sweet Little Nephew

No one rocks the fedora like this little guy.
Absolutely irresistable <3

Spinach Artichoke Pizza

Really, do I need to explain this one??
I love spinach artichoke dip and I'm planning to wow my husband with this pizza version.
Recipe & picture by Jessica of How Sweet It Is

Must Have Mugs



My friend, Natasha, and I are planning to work ourselves up to running this 10K in September.
Eek! Scared, but really excited!

What's made you smile this week?

Have a great Friday and a fabulous weekend,


Thursday, March 15, 2012

Cheesy Spinach Quinoa Patties

For me, warmer weather screams burgers and barbecue. Before I became a vegetarian, cheeseburgers were one of my fave foods and I must admit that the aroma of barbecuing burgers still makes me drool. Now that I no longer eat meat, I am constantly searching out new "burger" and "patty" recipes to try to fill my 'cheeseburger void'.

I found a recipe using quinoa recently and I tweaked it a little to make it my own by adding two of my all-time fave ingredients: Spinach & Cheddar  Mmmmmm.....

Now I personally wouldn't serve these on buns (they're pretty carb heavy on their own), but they are perfect-o with a side of roasted veggies or a great big green salad. I've made a couple of batches now and I love topping them with dijon (big surprise right?!) or tzatziki. Another bonus is that they're a great source of protein! 

Cheesy Spinach Quinoa Patties
Inspired by the Peachy Palate
Makes 4 patties

1/2 c quinoa
1 c water
1 c baby spinach, thinly sliced
2 green onions, diced
2 eggs
1/3 c bread crumbs
1 c shredded cheddar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp cajun seasoning

Cook your quinoa according to the package directions. Once the quinoa is done, remove from heat and mix in the spinach and green onions. Set mixture aside until cool enough to handle.

Once the mixture is cool enough to handle, add in the remaining ingredients.

Mix well and then form into 4 patties. Press together as much as you can.

Pre-heat a skillet to medium heat. Spray it with non-stick spray and then add your patties. Cook your patties for 6 to 7 minutes per side.

Remove from heat and serve.

Add your greens to the warm quinoa.
To cool the quinoa, throw it in the fridge for 15 to 20 minutes.

Cook your patties for 6 - 7 minutes and don't flip any earlier because they WILL fall apart!


Tastes awesome with tzatziki :) ....

...or with honey mustard parsnip fries on the side....

...I even topped a salad with a leftover patty that I crumbled...


What foodie aroma makes you drool?

Do you have any good  veggie burger recipes you'd like to share - link it up in your comment below!

Have a great day my friends,


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

WIAW Goes GREEN with Veggie Love

Happy Wednesday my friends!

The forecast is calling for sunny skies and 18C temperatures,
so I'm thinking today is going to be uber fabulous!

All this sunshine is getting me excited for summer, and you know what that means....

shorts, tank tops, sundresses and eek! the dreaded bathing suit

My plan is to stay on track by eating healthy and getting into a more consistent gym routine, so that I am in awesome shape by the time summer rolls around.

Eating your greens is a great way to get your healthy eating habits back on track ;)

Here's some 'green'-lights from my recent eats:

Are you sick of seeing pictures of green smoothies yet?
The fact is I have one almost every single day.
This one is romaine lettuce, celery, apple, pear and banana.

Grilled Avocado, Swiss and Tomato.  BLT, eat your heart out.
This sandwich is the Bomb-Digity of sammies.
Dijon Roasted Brocolli on the side.

One sweet treat that I've been loving at night is a chopped baked apple mixed with a little cinnamon, some shredded unsweetened coconut and some Apple Walnut Coconut Delight granola.
It tricks my belly into thinking that I'm eating something sinful ;)

I've also been drinking tons of green tea.
Green Chai is another fave of mine.

Baked Falafel with Tzatziki and
Honey Mustard Roasted Brussel Sprouts.


If you check out my weekly Wednesday posts, you may notice I have some addictions: Greens, Smoothies & Anything Smothered in Honey Mustard.

I have a very happy tummy :)

Thank you so much to Jen for hosting this WIAW shindig and for reminding us how
important it is to eat our greens. If you're looking for more healthy eats, head on over to Peas & Crayons to see what some other bloggers have been munching on this week.

Do you have any rituals that you follow to get ready for the summer weather?

Any plans for St. Patty's Day?

I think we're going to be doing a little of this....
Derek & his boot of beer. Getting primed for St. Patty's next wkd. Happy Sunday :)
...with a little green in there of course!

Have a good one and make sure you check back tomorrow for an awesome new quinoa recipe :)


Monday, March 12, 2012

Dreamy Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls

Happy Monday - I'm so happy to see you today one hour earlier than usual this morning - did you remember to spring your clock forward yesterday?!

This weekend's weather was absolutely to die for. The days were warm and sunny and utterly fabulous. Did you have the itch to get outdoors and get some fresh glorious air into those lungs of yours??

Clearly Spring  really is right around the corner and I think that calls for some serious celebration!!

I was going to tickle your tastes buds with a healthy entree today, but yesterday I was having a little fun in the kitchen and I've decided that this is the perfect day for an easy peasy treat. Why should we wait for Fridays or weekends for a little indulgence? Mondays are totally treat-worthy too!

Dreamy Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls
Makes 14 balls

These delicious little balls are a fabulous treat when you're craving something sweet. They taste like the inside guts of a peanut butter cup, with just a hint of dark chocolate. Store them in the freezer and take one out at a time for portion control because if they're sitting in your fridge and totally accessible, you WILL NOT be able to keep your fingers outta them!

2/3 c Dark Chocolate Dreams peanut butter
1/2 c smooth peanut butter
3 tbsp Earth Balance (or butter), softened
1/2 c icing sugar
1 1/4 - 1 1/2 graham cracker crumbs

In a large bowl, cream together your peanut butters and Earth Balance.

Add in the icing sugar and then the graham cracker crumbs and mix well.

Shape into 14 1" round balls and refrigerate for 2 hours.

They are ready to serve. How easy is that?!

Clearly anything that starts with this is going to be fabulous, wouldn't you agree?!

Just dig in and get your hands dirty :)

These are set out on mini cookie sheet that's about 1/3 the size of a normal-sized pan.
Please excuse the turd like appearance of these little morsels. I assure you they taste waa-aayyyy better than they look :-D

Three for you.....

...and eleven, er one for me. 


Note  -' --- just suggestin'.

Are there any little treats you like to keep around for a sweets craving that you just can't seem to kick?

Did you do anything fabulous this weekend?

Have a great day,