Monday, July 22, 2013

Week 1 - The Plans

Hiya! So I am well into week 1 of my 15 Week Transformation and so far things are good.
I did my first official weigh-in early Saturday morning before my first cup o' joe and then it was full steam ahead.
I've never been a person to track calories, nutrition stats, etc. but I have decided to use My Fitness Pal to track what I'm eating. I want to reduce the amount of calories I'm eating in a day and more importantly what I find really helps when tracking my eats is seeing the reality of how many calories I consume in a day - sometimes that number can be kinda shocking!!! I love  that My Fitness Pal offers a phone app because I use it constantly! It's great for meal planning and for deterring me from picking up a great big slice of pizza for lunch!!

My goals this week are pretty simple:

(1) Drink 48oz/day of water;
(2) Workout 4 -5 days with one of those days including some strength training;
(3) Add some yoga into my mornings to help relax and prepare me for the stressful workday;
(4) Eat well everyday!!

I've stocked my fridge with tons of healthy options, so here's some of the eats I'll be enjoying this week:

*eggs & egg whites
*lots of fresh produce - right now raspberries, cherries, cukes, zucchini, peaches, plums & green beans are in season - I stopped at a local orchard yesterday and loaded up!!!
*brown rice
* salads - one salad a day is the goal --- check out my Salad A Day Pinterest board
*Greek yogourt - I totally {swoon} over coconut
*protein shakes - I have Vega and Body by Vi right now and lots of frozen berries & mangoes to use
*veggie sausages


M - undecided between zumba and a circuit I've been wanting to do
T - spin
W - yoga
T - zumba
F - rest
S - run day (at the beach!!!!)

*Somewhere in there I also need to fit in some strength training*

So that's my week in a nutshell. At the end of the week, I'll let you know how I did!

Do you have any plans or goals in the works right now?

Have a great day!!


Amen to that!!!

Friday, July 19, 2013

15 Week Challenge

Good morning!!

So clearly things are changing here on this little ol' blog of mine. Quite frankly, I've lost my flow. Life has taken priority and every time I think about what I want to share with you, I just can't come up with anything awesome.

One thing that's happened to me this year (that I am less than impressed with I might add) is that I have gained some weight. Blame it on stress, the fact that I'm so tired by the end of the workday that I frequently have been skipping the gym, the chaos that has been our life or the fact that we now have a family cottage that I go to regularly, which makes me feel like I'm constantly on vacation, which translates into beer, fry shacks and big greasy breakfasts.

Regardless of why it's happened, the fact is that it has and now I have to do something about it. 

....SO, what's the plan????

Let's just say I've decided to start a 15 Week "Get Fit! Eat Clean!" Transformation Plan

I chose 15 weeks because we have a family trip to Disney World planned from November 2 - 10 and it is exactly 15 weeks `til then.

The long-term goals I hope to reach at the end of the 15 weeks are:

*To lose 25lbs
*To re-gain the muscle definition in my arms and back
*Get back to my weekly yoga class that brings so much "zen" to my life
*To start preparing meals at home again {Gah! - I've never eaten so much takeout in my life!!!}
*Eat local, eat organic as much as possible ---- re-develop these as my regular habits
*Get more comfortable with weight training and incorporate that into my weekly workouts
*Establish a workout schedule that I can follow consistently that includes 4 to 5 workouts per week

My plan is to update you weekly on my planned workouts and eats and then at the end of each week to give you the lowdown on how I did. Throw in some fun workout ideas, new recipes (OMG, a new recipe --- it's been FOREVAH!!!) and I just might get this little blog of mine back up & running.

So that's the direction I'm heading in and hopefully I'll figure out exactly where I want to go with the blog and a new direction will become clear to me.

Take care, have a great weekend and I will see you very soon with the plans for Week #1!!


Monday, June 3, 2013

a whole lotta things

So, it's been a while since we last chatted and there's a lot of things that I want to share. So guess guys are about to get a great big brain dump to bring you up to speed.
on your mark. get set. GO!!
1.  I seriously don't know what we'd do without these two characters. We haven't had the time, or at times, patience that they usually receive and deserve, yet they have been amazing. They are a constant source of love, loyalty and comedic relief. Here, they're {im}patiently waiting for their dad to get home.

2. I have recently discovered a love/hate relationship with soft serve half & half ice cream. Dipped in chocolate, rolled in sprinkles, stuffed deep inside a waffle cone --- yep, I pretty much love it all ways. I crave it every day because my tastebuds love it, but my butt ... not so much.
3. Derek's mom has bought a cottage on a nearby lake. Clearly the ice cream has got to stop if I'm going to spend my weekends on the beach. She takes possession of it on Friday and I am so excited to spend our summer together up there! I've already picked out my our bedroom. What else am I excited about?! --- frozen boozy drinks.....apparently all the neighbours go to the beach each night to watch the sunset with their favourite bevy. My classy plastic wine glass is already packed.
4. In preparation for the summer months, I'm super excited to be participating in the Fitnessista's Summer Shape Up 2013, which starts TODAY!! This is the first week in the past 5 where I actually have a plan in terms of workouts and meals and it feels good. It's not too late if you want to participate. Just check out Gina's intro post here and sign up
5. My bestie, Krista, is coming home for a visit in one month and five days and she and her family are staying for most of the summer. We make a point of doing yoga together on Saturdays and have a weekly date night for dinner and wine. I. CAN'T. WAIT.
6. Derek and I are hoping to put an addition on our house this summer. We're in the planning/getting quotes stage and while I'm dreading the mess and chaos, I am really looking forward to re-decorating our existing home and planning out the new portion. I figure, if we're going to have a huge-ass mess, why not re-do the entire house while we're at it?! My inner design-diva has come alive and I have become addicted to this blog. I have plans to start vision boards with new designs for every single room in my house. My husband is thrilled, NOT.  
7. My family has booked a Disney trip for later this year. Derek's never been to Disney World and I am really excited to take him and to see my neice and nephew discover the Disney magic for the first time. Personally, I'm most excited for the Animal Kingdom and the water parks. If you have any "must dos" in Orlando, let me parents were planning the trip, but my sister and I have taken that job over. We're kinda bossy that way.
8. And lastly, congratulations to some of my favourite bloggers: to Jenna and Kelly on their recent weddings and to Kate on her wonderful news!
So, I think that's all I've got for today. What's new & exciting in your neck of the woods?
See you in a couple of days with a swoon-worthy recipe,

Thursday, May 30, 2013

back at last

So, you might have noticed that I've been away from the blog for an extended period of time. Sadly and unexpectedly, my father-in-law passed away on April 28th. It has been a devastating loss for my husband and his family, so I have been focusing on what's really important in life: FAMILY.

Sometimes, life just isn't fair.

Over the past couple of weeks, the blog has been on my mind, but I just didn't have anything to say and since we've been eating a lot of takeout and grilled cheese sandwiches, I didn't even have any foodie photos to share with you.

Finally, my creative juices have started flowing and I'm feeling like it's time to start back up both in the kitchen and here in my special little corner of the world wide, if you're still here and reading, I want to thank you for not giving up on me. I have lots of fun summer adventures in the works, some new recipes to try and lots of new things I've been trying out that you really must stay tuned for.

See you soon,


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Review & Giveaway Time: Vega One Nutrition Bars

Hey friends!

So a while back I was contacted by Vega and asked if I'd like to be part of their new Team Vega! Um, do you think I even needed to think about it ---- I have been a long-time lover of the Vega products, so I immediately said YES!!!!

In a nutshell, Team Vega is a community of like-minded athletes, health and fitness leaders across North America who are passionate about Vega products, and understand how clean plant-based nutrition can help transform overall health and performance.  I am so honoured to be part of this team <3!!!!

Y'all know that I've been really focussed on maintaining a clean diet and I have to say that I whole-heartedly agree with Vega's guiding principles for plant-based nutrition. Eating a well-balance, clean, plant-based diet leaves me feeling energized and refreshed. I sleep better, I rarely have mid-afternoon lulls and I never experience that heavy bloated feeling I used to get after eating a big meal. Dare I say my body's starting to look a heck of alot better as well?!

If you`ve thought about making the leap to clean eating and/or vegetarianism or veganism and you want to learn more about the benefits, you should definitely check out Brendan Brazier`s Thrive Forward program. It`s a free, personalized program to help you transform your health and performance through plant-based nutrition. I joined up for this program when it first was launched and there is so much valuable information that you are given access to.

Eating well and taking proper care of your health impacts

One of the perks of being part of this fabulous team is that I get the opportunity to try out and review new products and I recently had the pleasure of trying out the Vega One Nutrition Bars.

Do you love receiving surprise packages in the mail as much as I do?! I was so excited to receive these!!

These new bars hit the shelves in mid-March and come in 3 delicious flavours: Double Chocolate, Chocolate Cherry and Chocolate Almond.

"They're made from natural, plant-based, whole food ingredients, and packed with vitamins and minerals, 15g protein, 6g fiber, 1.5g Omega-3, plus antioxidants, probiotics and greens. They're gluten-free and contain no artificial flavors, colors or sweeteners"....and most importantly, they're dipped in CHOCOLATE!!!

One thing that I absolutely LOVE about the Vega One bars are that you can actually see the whole ingredients within the bar: different seeds, chunks of's all there so you can SEE what you're eating and feel confident that you are getting the best quality nutrition in every bite.

To say that these bars taste good would be an understatement. I loved all 3 flavours!! They're quite dense, which makes them very satisfying, and they have a perfect amount of sweetness and a little crunch too! If I had to choose a favourite, I'd have to say the Chocolate Almond, although the other flavours came in a very close second. I have enjoyed these for breakfast on mornings when I'm running late and need to eat on the fly and I've also enjoyed them when I'm on my way from work straight to the gym and need some fuel to tide me over until I get home for dinner.

Because I loved these bars so much and I think they are a great way to stay on track with your clean and healthy eating when life gets hectic, I thought that YOU, my fabulous readers, should have a chance to try them for yourselves. SO, I have decided to offer a giveaway for one lucky reader to receive 3 Vega One bars (one in each flavour).

To enter, please leave a comment telling me what flavour you most want to try. To earn a second entry, tweet about the giveaway and then leave a second comment telling me that you did (make sure you include your Twitter handle please!). Your tweet could go a little somethin' like this:

I just entered a giveaway for a pack of the new #VegaOne Nutrition bars from @Vegvacious. #ThriveFwd

Contest is open to residents of Canada and the USA. The contest shall remain open until 11:59 p.m. EST on Saturday and the winner will be announced in Monday's post. Good Luck!!!

Have a great day!


*Vega provided me with these bars free of charge, but this review and all opinions contained herein are completely my own. The products offered in this giveaway have been purchased by me.*

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Thoughts & Prayers with Boston Today

There are no words for what happened yesterday at the Boston Marathon. It didn't seem right to continue on with regularly scheduled posting ~ the victims of yesterday's violent attack need to know that we love and support them through this difficult time.

Sending my thoughts, love and prayers to Boston today.
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Thursday, April 11, 2013

Strawberry Vanilla Protein Oats (Slow Cooker Style)

So is it Spring or isn't it?! Mother Nature is seeming a little confused these days. One day it's warm and sunny and the next it's gray and frigid. We had some glimpses of Springtime weather on Tuesday morning and since then have pretty much been experiencing a monsoon.....okay, so maybe I'm being a wee bit dramatic, but we've had some crazy thunder, rainy downpours and the weatherman is calling for a chance of wet snow or freezing rain today today. AWESOME {enter sarcasm here} I think we can all agree that we are done with winter and want the snow to take a hike, but it just doesn't seem to want to let us go. I bought a couple {read: five} new pairs of flats that I'm dying to wear, but I made an attempt with them yesterday and my feet received a royal soaking. Today, I'm back to boots.

My cravings have been all over the board because of this weather too. One day I'm craving fresh green salads with lots of veggies and my favourite honey dijon dressing and the next day I'm thinking about making a crockpot full of veggie stew.

Last night, I decided that I needed to make a crockpot full of steel cut oatmeal for breakfast. I decided to try a new strawberry vanilla combo, so I could get a little Springtime with the berries while at the same time getting the warm and cozy comfort of the oatmeal. This combo turned out to be delicious!

I also decided to add some protein powder to my oats, which is something I've never done before. I recently became a member of Team Vega {an entire post dedicated to this amazing company and their equally amazing products will be coming very soon} and they provided me with a sample pack of products to try - I decided that their Vega One French Vanilla Nutritional Shake powder would be a perfect compliment to my strawberry oats. This flavour is the bomb-digity of protein powders!!!!!

What I ended up with was an amazing new oatmeal that I insist you've got to try. It's Springtime meets comfort food and it is SO.GOOD!!!!!

Strawberry Vanilla Slow Cooker Protein Oats
Serves 2

1/2 c steel cut oats
1 c unsweetened original almond milk (or milk of your choice)
3/4 c water
1 package vanilla-flavoured protein powder
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 c frozen sliced strawberries (fresh would probably work)

Optional Toppings: favourite nut butter, maple syrup, coconut or chopped pecans

Note: I used my small hot dip slow cooker for this recipe. It works perfectly or you could use Janetha's instructions here for using a larger sized slow cooker.

Grease your slow cooker with coconut oil or non-stick spray.

Add all of the ingredients to the slow cooker and stir well to combine.

Cook on low for 8 hours.

Serve and enjoy. Sometimes I like to add a spoonful of plain non-fat Greek yogourt to my oats and sometimes I eat them topped with chopped fruit, a drizzle of syrup (perfect way to add more sweetness for all you sweet lovers out there) or a big glob of melty nut butter. Either way will rock your socks off!

I prepare my oatmeal in the evening and let the slow cooker simmer away all night long. When I get up in the morning, I open my bedroom door to the mouthwatering aroma of freshly made oatmeal. It's such a nice way to start your day!

Are you craving fresh produce and all foods associated with Spring or are you still enjoy all the comfort foods of winter?

Have a great day!!


Monday, April 8, 2013

Fancy Up Your Water + My Plan for the Week

Hi guys! I have missed you SOOOO much!

Derek and I had an awesome vacation away in Nashville and then at my parents for an extended Easter holiday! (I'm hoping to do a great big photo dump for you from our time away ----stay tuned!!)

As much as I love vacationing, it's always good to be home ----- we love going away but we always miss the dogs so much and my body always thanks me for getting back into a normal food and workout routine.

When we got home, our refrigerator was E-M-P-T-Y. I didn't have time to get groceries until Saturday, so we lived on egg white scrambles, cottage cheese and any other scrap of food we could find. As you know, I have a weakness for groceries and hate having an empty fridge, so on Friday night, I worked out our menu for this week and I was up and at 'em first thing on Saturday morning, to rectify our food situation. I think it's safe to say that we are replenished. We can't fit a single thing in the fridge right now; especially after we had a family birthday dinner last night, which resulted in lots and lots of leftovers for Derek.

I've planned out a week of healthy clean meals --- here's what's on the menu this week:

Monday - Leftovers from Sunday's dinner (Derek) - Asparagus & Swiss Egg White Omlet (Me) 

Tuesday - Caprese-style Crustless Quiche (recipe on its way y'all) & Mixed Greens

Wednesday - Mixed Greens with Roasted Sweet Potato, Pepitas & Goat Cheese (me) - Stuffed Chicken & Baked Potatoes (Derek)

Thursday - Out for Derek's Birthday!!! xoxoxoxo

Friday - BBQ Tofu with Roasted Turnip & Sauteed Greens

In addition to my clean eating goals, I'm also going to focus on my water intake this week. As you know, I constantly struggle with this, so I'm going to try "fancying up" my water with some fruits and herbs in an attempt to tickle my tastebuds with a little more of the wet stuff. My yoga instructor recently posted this cleansing combo on her facebook page, so I thought I'd give it a try.

Combine 3L of water with 2 sliced lemons, 1/2 a cucumber and 10 - 12 fresh mint leaves. Infuse overnight and then drink up! Today is the first time I'll be trying this combo, so I'll let you know how it goes.

With respect to this week's workouts, I'm planning to try some new lunchtime classes because my evenings are busy. My workout schedule's going to go a little somethin' like this:

Monday - Zumba

Tuesday - Trying a new lunchtime spin class

Wednesday - Trying a new lunchtime yoga class

Thursday - Zumba

Friday - I'm going to try a new lunchtime bootcamp class

Saturday - Kundalini Yoga

I'm really hoping that I'll like the lunchtime workouts because it's so nice to have the evenings free in the summer. It's also nice to switch things up once in a while to keep my workouts interesting.

What do you have on your schedule this week?

Do you ever infuse your water? If you do, please share your favourite flavour combos.

Have a great Monday my friends!!


Friday, March 29, 2013

Guest Post: Jessie Shares Her Fave Easter Recipes

Hey y'all! Derek & I are probably at Opry Mills Mall in Nashville right now getting in some retail therapy before we head over the Opry House for our first Grand Ol' Opry experience tonight. My sweet friend, Jessie, has prepared a post with tons of mouth-watering Easter recipes for you.
Hi guys! My name is Jessie, and I blog over at Jessie Loves To Run. When Andrea first sent me an e-mail asking whether or not I’d do a guest post for her while she’s off having a fabulous vacation in Nashville (jealous), I was filled with happiness, and felt so honored. Not only do I absolutely adore reading Andrea’s posts, but she is such a sweetheart.
I feel like more times than one, you often see Guest Posts revolving around Healthy Eating and Fitness related talks. So for today, and since It’s close to Easter, I thought I’d steer away from either one of those topics & simply share some fun Easter recipes with all of you. Enjoy!
Baked Goods and Sweets

Easter Meals

 ...and those are just a couple Easter Recipes that I guarantee you’ll love. What you waiting for?? Make a list, head to the grocery store for ingredients, come home, turn on music & start cooking!
Wow! I am totally drooling over all of those sweets!! Thank you so much Jessie for filling in and sharing some of your fave Easter recipes with all of my Vegvacious readers!
Wishing you all a lovely Good Friday.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Healthy for the Holiday

Yesterday morning as I drove to work, there was snow in the air. Am I the only person who is SO ready to bid winter adios?! I love the cold, crisp days of winter and a clean, beautiful winter landscape, but come on!!! Easter is just a few short days away and I am ready for some sunshine and some warm Springtime temperatures!!

Speaking of Easter --- can you believe it's this coming weekend?! It seems like we just got over the Christmas break and here we are at the next special holiday.

Last year I went totally crazy on the sweets for Easter, but this year I am going to try really hard to stick to my clean eats plans as much as possible. It so easy to go crazy over the holidays - especially a holiday that promotes chocolate eggs and sugary jelly beans as the food of choice. That's not to say that I'm not going to indulge in a creme egg or the peanut butter/chocolate/oreo dessert I've heard is being made for my family dinner, but I am definitely going to focus on my long-term goals and try to stay on track as much as possible.

Here are a few of the tricks and tips that I'll be using in my effort to stay on track this Easter Long Weekend:

*Drink my 8 glasses of water each and everyday - I tend to sip on coffee and wine on long weekends and holidays. I probably will still enjoy both, but my water intake won't suffer as a result.

*WORKOUT!!!! - It's so easy to relax the workout schedule over the holidays. If your gym has reduced hours or you're going to be out of town, throw your sneakers on and go for a walk/jog, or better yet, encourage the whole family to get out and take a stroll around the neighbourhood.

*Remember what the holiday really is about - holidays do not = food!!! Family, friends and celebration  are what the holidays are all about for me. Just because it's a holiday does not automatically give me the green light to gorge myself on every piece of food that passes my way.

*Moderation is KEY - Do you love Cadbury creme eggs as much as I do? Well then eat one...but don't buy out your local convenience store and eat five. The same goes for your favourite Easter dessert. Have one serving and savour every delicious bite. Don't go back for seconds and don't eat it for breakfast, not that I've ever done that before ;-) Enjoy the taste of decadence and move on.

*Get back to your normal routine asap - Come Monday morning, I will be back to my healthy, clean eats. The indulgence won't be lingering around because the longer that I'm off my routine, the harder it is to get back to it.

*Contribute healthy dishes to your holiday meal - Instead of my usual Skor Bar Trifle (which admittedly is amazing), I've offered to contribute one of my favourite salads and clean desserts to our Easter meal this weekend. I know that my brother's girlfriend is making something decadent (remember that peanut butter/chocolate/oreo concocotion I mentioned above?), so we won't be missing out, and now we'll have a couple of healthier options as well.

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Source via Pinterest via Elisa Walsh

Here's a few clean dishes that I think would be perfect for your holiday table:

Martha Stewart's Easter Salad

What's your favourite Easter dish? Link up to share with my readers!

Do you have any tricks or tips to staying on track after the holiday long weekend?

Have a great day,


Food for Thought:

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Friday, March 15, 2013

Getting Back On Track: Revamp Your Resolutions

Hiya friends! TGIF!! I was contacted recently by Brittany who was interested in sharing a guest post about maintaining a healthy lifestyle. She did a really great post on re-evaluating our New Years goals and getting back/staying on track.
Check it out!!!
It’s already March! Can you believe it? The snow is melting, the Spring is just around the corner, and soon enough shorts, skirts and bikinis will be in season.  The real question is- how are your New Year’s Resolutions going?  You know, all those diet and fitness resolutions you promised to keep a little while back? Well whether you tried your best and things fell apart, or you gave up on giving up carbs January 2nd, hope isn’t lost.  Only about 8% of Americans that make resolutions actually follow through and complete their initial goals.  Sadly, by this time in the year, many of us have probably forgotten what we vowed to accomplish.  But with swimsuit season staring us in the face, it may be time to grab that list of resolutions that you shoved into a desk drawer. 
Figure out why it failed.  I hate to use the “F” word, but it’s important to determine why your resolutions didn’t work out in the first place. People tend to set very lofty goals for themselves and are extremely disappointed when they fail to meet their expectations.  Sit down and try to figure out whether your goals are reasonable.  That isn’t to say that you’ll never achieve your ultimate fitness or weight loss goals, but you may need to rethink your means of attaining them, as well as the amount of time it takes.
Forget about the short term. This step is key.  A huge reason people have issues following through with diet and fitness changes, is that they expect instantaneous results.  Unfortunately, this leads many to make poor dieting choices for the sake of slimming down.  Any fast or program that promises drastic results, with little to no exercise is unhealthy and unrealistic.  These fads have pretty much skewed success rates, often leading to yo-yo dieting, which usually does more harm than good.  Taking your body on and off starvation mode actually causes you to gain more weight.  Your body begins to break down muscle for energy, but once you resume a regular diet, there is less muscle mass to burn calories and your body stores it as fat.  This is a classic example of how short term solutions can lead to more severe health problems in the long run.
 Rethink the word “diet”.  I’ve already thrown this word around quite a bit, but I mean it in the most basic definition of the word – “the kinds of food a person habitually eats.”  I’m not talking about talking about trendy, fad “diets” and cleanses.  I’m talking about the types of foods we eat on the day to day.  Dieting should not be a quick fix; it’s a way of living! You should make consistently healthy choices that are beneficial to your overall wellbeing.  
Reevaluate Your Options:  Now that we’ve established that crash dieting and short term solutions rarely work, let’s brainstorm.  If you’re dedicated to improving your health, then now is a good time to look at your eating habits and determine where you need to make permanent changes.  Are you eating enough veggies?  How lean is the protein you eat? Think about making substitutions rather than completely cutting things out.   Meal planning is also an excellent way to that you’re maintaining a balanced diet.  Not every meal needs to be elaborate; there are numerous options for quick healthy meals and snacks.  Look for products with substantial fiber and protein to diminish hunger throughout the day.
Use the Buddy System! As I struggled to get on track with a fitness and diet routine, I’ve come to find that it’s exponentially easier when you do it with someone else.   When you are being held accountable by a fitness partner or group, people tend to be more committed.  Sometimes this can be even more rewarding!  Dieting and exercise can feel like much less of a chore when you’re cooking meals with your husband or going for jogs with a close friend. 
But of all the tips and tricks I can give, the most important one is to remain positive.  The greatest rewards take time and effort.  So remember, even if the start seems slow and arduous, you can and will reach your goals.
Author Bio:  Brittany writes about healthy living and fitness on behalf of Healthy Choice.  For more information about low calorie meals and healthy desserts visit  Remember- don’t diet, live healthy!
Thank you so much Brittany for the motivation!!! As I read through the post, I realized that it really isn't hard to be healthy and stay healthy. We can all do it; especially when we work together and support each other on our journey to a healthier life!
Enjoy your weekend my bloggie friends, 
Here's a little Weekend Motivation for ya:

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Celebrating Celery

I read somewhere recently that March is National Celery Month.

Celery is one of those veggies that just doesn't get enough credit.

As I started to search around for some mouth-watering and healthy recipes, I was surprised to find that celery actually has several impressive health benefits.

You will almost always find some celery stalks in our crisper because it's one of Derek's faves --- give him a bag full of chopped celery and fresh radishes as a snack and you've got one happy man. I don't get quite so excited about this veggie. It's one of those foods that I feel sort of <meh> about. I like the crunch factor, but it certainly isn't the first thing I reach for when I'm searching for something satisfying to eat.

When I saw that it was a month of celebrating celery, I thought that I needed to give celery another chance, so I started a search for some clean celery recipes to try ---- of course, I headed straight over to Pinterest :) Here are some of the pins that made me drool the most.

I'm going to give these a try and I'll let you know what I think!

Do you like celery? What's your fave way of eating it?

Have a great day,


Monday, March 11, 2013

Plans for the Week of March 10th

Hi! How was your weekend? I hope it was fabulous!

I had a lovely weekend. We went out with friends to a karaoke bar on Friday, which was so much fun, and the rest of the weekend was spent doing just the "usual stuff"  (groceries, house cleaning, watching Season 3 of Sons of Anarchy {LOVE!!!} etc). Yesterday, I spent some time in the kitchen doing food prep for the week. Last week I was really successful in sticking to my clean eats goals and I am determined to be just as good this week.

Yesterday I made:

 * Baked Blueberry Banana Oatmeal
 * Hard-boiled Eggs
 * Homemade Tater Soup - for Derek & his dad
 * Quinoa (to add to salads, roasted veggies, etc)

Now here is where I should be inserting a pic or two of my food prep, but someone <cough, me, cough> has misplaced her cord and cannot download any photos right now :-/

I'm planning for the following dinners this week:

 * BBQ Tofu with Roasted Balsamic Broccoli
 * Lentil Veggie Mac 'N Cheese
 * Toasted TLT (tempeh, lettuce & tomato)
 * Spaghetti Squash with Veggies
 * Veggie Omlets with Sweet Potato Homefries

I also bought a ton of fresh veggies that I'm planning to wash and chop tonight because the one thing I'd like to improve on this week is adding more salads to my daily eats - I'll be having salads for lunch or adding them as a side to our dinners. Now that the weather is starting to warm up, I crave fresh greens so much more!

In addition to my eats, here's what the workout plans are looking like this week:

*Sunday - Rest
*Monday - Bootcamp (new love that kicks my butt!!)
*Tuesday - Spin
*Wednesday - Rest
*Thursday - Zumba
*Friday - Active Rest or a new lunchtime Bootcamp
*Saturday - Yoga

So here's to another successful week my friends!

What do you have planned for the upcoming week? 

Have a great day!!


Today's Motivation:

EAT well. MOVE daily. HYDRATE often. SLEEP lots. LOVE your body. REPEAT for life.

Friday, March 1, 2013

28 Days

Hi Friends!

TGIF!! Do you have an exciting weekend planned?! Tomorrow is a busy day and then I have absolutely NOTHING planned for Sunday except hanging around the homestead. I've been looking forward to a PJ Sunday all week!

As you know, and I'm sure it's been obvious from my lack of posts lately, I have been busy. Both Derek and I have been moving at warp speed with barely a moment of peace. I keep thinking things are going to slow down, but they don't ---- so we are just starting to accept this busier lifestyle as the norm.

We are in need of a break and a mini-break we shall have at the end of March. We just booked ourselves a mini-vacay to Nashville followed by Easter with my family. I am beyond excited about the thought of getting away for a few days; especially to one of my fave places!!

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 Derek & I rarely get away by ourselves, so it will be so nice to spend some QT with each other and I always love a visit with my fam! Have you ever been to Nashville before? We're planning to hit some of our fave hotspots, as well as a Nashville Predators game, the Grand Ol' Opry and shopping is a must at Opry Mills Mall!

March 1st marked 28 days until our little getaway, so I've set some goals for myself for the next 4 weeks:

*Eat clean every snack/meal except one free meal over the weekend.

*5 workouts per week

*8 glasses of water per day

*Unplug & be in bed by 11 p.m. (7 hrs of sleep/night is the goal!)

*Maintain a food journal

*Try a new workout once per week to keep things interesting

I do so much better with short-term goals; especially when I have a *reward* at the end. I hope you don't mind, but you're going to be seeing a lot of meal plans, clean eating photos and fitness updates over the next 4 weeks!

What short-term goals do you have set for yourself right now?
Do you love vacationing or do you prefer downtime at home?

Have a great weekend and I will see you with a meal planning post on Monday!


Food for thought:

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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

A Most Egg-cellent Clean Sammie

Life can get in the way of our healthy goals. I know this because it's been happening to me alot lately. I have a vision of how I want myself to look and feel and I  know that my goals are totally attainable if I could just stick to the plan I've laid out, but then life happens. Everyday I get up, pack a clean lunch with lots of healthy snacks, drink my water, head to the gym after work, get home between 7 & 8 p.m. and then stuff my face full of whatever food is ready and at my fingertips. Not. Good.

I love spending time in the kitchen trying new recipes and cooking up wholesome, healthy meals for dinner. This time of year, I'm drawn to casseroles and roasted veggies and all types of comfort foods, but I've had to accept the fact that there are some days when I'm going to have to whip up something quick and easy, so that I don't turn to junk food as a substitute for my dinner or wind up eating dinner at 10 p.m.

This sandwich has been one of my regular "go to" meals lately. It works for breakfast , lunch or dinner and I've enjoyed it at all times of the day. I got the idea from Tosca Reno's Eat Clean Vegetarian Cookbook and tweaked it a bit to suit my tastes. It's easy, tastes great and most importantly it's healthy and clean and fits nicely with my goals.

All you do is scramble up 1/4 cup of egg whites in a small non-stick frying pan. Add in a few drops of Frank's Red Hot (I like lots!!!) and a tablespoon of nutritional yeast. Once the egg is finished cooking, I like to make my sandwich with a toasted whole grain English muffin or flatbread smothered with a whole lotta dijon mustard. Don't skip the dijon my friends, it makes this sandwich!!!

Photo: Must haves for the perfect breakfast sandwich: Frank's Red Hot & dijon!

Now this is WAY healthier than the old egg sandwich I used to eat --- picture a scrambled egg on toast topped with a processed cheese slice and lotsa ketchup. Welp! I used to eat that a couple of times per week!!!

Do you have a quick and easy 'go to' meal when life gets hectic?

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Have a great day my friends!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

What I Ate Wednesday - Veggie Love

Hiya guys! I've been really light on my posting over the past two weeks and its because I've had a lot of stuff on my plate! The most recent was a visit from one of my most favourite mom!

She's on her way back home this morning :( and we are back to our regularly scheduled programming ---- not only in our routine but our eats! Oh gosh, our eats have been all over the map. I have been absolutely amazing at sticking to my clean eats goals during the week, but I've been indulging a little more than I'd like to over the weekends.

We have some vacation plans coming up, so that's the motivation I'm using to really stick with my clean eats program and I'm hoping all the veggie love shared at Peas & Crayons this month will help motivate me and give me some creative ideas on how to eat clean while keeping things interesting, and most importantly DELICIOUS!!

Even though I've been absent here on the blog, I've still been snapping pics and sharing my eats on Twitter and are some of my fave meals from the past couple of weeks (please forgive the photos - most were taken on my phone and clearly I need to use my Canon with editing to actually have a photograph that is properly centred :) :
Bananarama Protein Pancakes are still one of my all-time favourite breakfasts. Lately, I've been adding 1/2 a grapefruit to my first meal of the day.
Over the weekend, I made my mom & I some sweet potato homefries (sweet potato & sweet onion panfried in coconut oil) and baked eggs with mozza, grape tomatoes & fresh basil. I must say it was the best egg concoction I've put together in ages! My mom and I totally swooned over this breakfast.
I've been making a true effort to pack a healthy lunch that includes mid-morning and mid-afternoon snacks. Here is one from last week that included Gina`s Sweet Potato Black Bean Chili, plain non-fat Greek yogourt with mixed fruit, whole wheat crackers and roasted garlic hummus, and some of my trail mix.
I've also been eating a ton of kale. Yesterday, I marinated some kale in an olive oil/apple cider vinegar/dijon combo and topped it with some leftover sweet potato homefries, sweet orange pepper, raw pepitas, raw walnut pieces, goat cheese and sundried tomatoes. It was ah-mazing!

Dinners have been really good too. I cannot get enough of Angela's Easy BBQ Tofu. It is so good! I usually pair it with some roasted veggies - here I had roasted taters and turnip. Have I mentioned that I used to hate turnip?! I tried roasting it with a bit of coconut oil and sea salt and I have absolutely fallen in love with it. Derek and I easily eat an entire turnip in one meal!

 My other fave dinner of late was Lentil Veggie Mac & Cheese by Lindsay. A classic comfort food with an added punch of protein and veggies. I didn't share one bit of this with anyone; not even Derek got a bite!!!

Whew! I'm feeling a little better about my eats now that I see all the goodness I've used to fuel my body. I've had a few moments of weakness where chocolate or and wine have passed my lips, but hey "moderation is key" wouldn't you agree?!

What's the best healthy meal you've eaten this week?
When you try to follow a meal plan do you allow for some indulgence?

Have a great day my friends!


Monday, February 11, 2013

Responsible Snacking: Trail Mix ~ My Way

Hi! How was your weekend?! Mine turned out great even though it started out with a 'snow day' on Friday. We had our first winter storm in two years and it was quite the winter wonderland when we woke up on Friday morning. I had the day off, so I didn't have to venture off to work and since I wasn't able to get anywhere, I ended up getting some long overdue chores done at home.

I planned to get to the gym and do an early morning workout,  but my cardio sesh was cancelled due to the fact that I couldn't get out of the driveway. Instead, I went outside and burnt some calories by shovelling snow....twice.
Improvisation, baby!!!

As you know, I've been following a 'clean' diet since the beginning of January and 90% of the time, I've been doing great. The only time I struggle with my new food plan is in the evening. I crave sweets EVERY SINGLE NIGHT and it wasn't until I started eating clean that these cravings started to rear their ugly head. I tried to have a tea, but found that I was waking up in the middle of the night with a full bladder and that just wasn't working for me.

I've been doing alot of my weekly meal prep on Sunday afternoons and I've just recently added a trail mix to my prepping time. It's super easy, really it can barely be called a recipe, and you can add whatever nuts, seeds and dried fruit you fancy. I've been loving a handful of this when the snack monster attacks. This is also a great pre-workout snack. I grab a handful on the way to the gym and it gives me the extra fuel I need.  

Andrea's Healthy Trail Mix

1 c raw almonds
1/2 c dried cherries
1/4 c white chocolate chips
1/2 c raw cashews
1/2 c raw sunflower seeds
1/2 c reduced sugar banana chips

All you do is throw all of the ingredients into a large ziploc bag and shake 'er up!

Grab a handful when a craving strikes and enjoy! The sweet cherries, banana chips and white chocolate are sure to control any desire for sweets and the nuts will fuel ya up!

Clearly, I'm not the only one in my house that's looking for a little treat!

What's your favourite sweet treat?

Have a great day!


Monday, February 4, 2013

Workout Videos at Home

Um, remember how I shared my goal of getting to the gym to workout at least 4 times per week. Yeah, well that just is not happening my friends. I don't really have a good excuse as to why not other than the fact that I've been really tired at the end of the workday and by the time I get home from work, I have no desire to turn around and drive back to the gym after dinner. It makes for a really long day and there are some days when I don't get to sit down until 9 p.m. or 10 p.m.

Mondays are great because I do a one hour core strengthening class, followed by an hour of zumba. I LOVE <3 Monday nights!! By the time I'm finished both classes, I can barely lift my arms. I also love Saturdays because that's my yoga day. It's such a nice way to start the weekend. The rest of the week is left up in the air  --- I'm thinking the flexibility is part of my problem.

I've  been trying to figure out how I can kick myself in the butt and get a more regular schedule in place (that I will actually follow) and I've come to the conclusion that in order for me to get in a sufficient amount of workouts per week, I need to do at least one to two of my weekly workouts at home. It's hard to get back to the gym in the evenings and if I turn on a workout video as soon as I get home from work, then I'm done with my workout and well on my way to having dinner ready by 6:30 p.m. That is a time schedule that makes me much happier!!!

So, what workout videos do I like? Truth be told, I need to bulk up my home workout selection -- I hardly have anything at home. I borrow videos from my friends and use some online resources like, but I don't really stick with any of them on a consistent basis.

A few weeks ago, I was contacted by and was asked to take a look around the site. The timing couldn't be more perfect because this is a terrific place to get your hands on some of the most popular home fitness workout videos. One of their most popular workouts is the well known P90X. I'm sure you know someone whose tried P90X --- I've personally seen some pretty fantastic transformations as a result!

Some of Beachbody's newest workouts are:

Les Mills Combat Workout
Brazil Butt Lift Master Series 
Asylum Volume 2

I am very familiar with the Brazil Butt Lift Master Series and if you want to lift and firm that booty in preparation for an upcoming beach vacation, this is the series for you! 

One thing that I really loved about the site is that they provide you with a comparison of their most popular fitness programs. You can find the comparison here and then choose what programs are best suited for your goals and fitness level.

I definitely see some of these fitness videos in my immediate future. What about you? Do you have a fave workout series? Have you ever heard of Beachbody before? Let me know what you're using and what you find most effective!

Have a great day.


Thursday, January 24, 2013

DIY Honey Lemon Lip Exfoliant

It's been cold this week. Like, really cold. So cold that Derek's afraid to let the dogs go out for more than 5 minutes at a time because he doesn't want them to freeze....they're our babies ya know :) It's been so cold that I've been sporting fleecy PJs to bed, with polar fleece socks and microfleece sheets. Did you know that there were so many kinds of fleece? I did. And I love it.

I've pulled out my mitts, my scarves and my new winter coat. You can't go out, not even for a minute, without bundling up in your woolies. I know it's January and that I live in Canada, so I really shouldn't be shocked by this weather, but it's been a long time since we've felt such frigid temperatures and I don't like it one bit. I swear to you that I am a true red & white Canadian, but we live in the southern parts of Ontario and you won't catch me moving north anytime soon. Like never.

This weather has been wreaking havoc on my skin. I moisturize every day, but my hands have been feeling drier everyday and my lips....oh my poor, dry flaky lips. They have been in a sad state my friends. No matter how much lip gloss or chapstick I use, I can't keep them soft and smooth. Yesterday was the final straw. I couldn't stand the sandpaper feeling any longer, so I decided to take action.

Several years ago, I bought a lip exfoliant and conditioner from Mary Kay. These products were the bomb-digity of lip products. They kept my lips smooth and soft all year long. The set was a tad pricey, and while I don't mind paying for quality, I have a hard time blowing my skincare budget on something I can easily make at home. I did a little research on what ingredients work best for smoothing and conditioning my lips and I went to work on making my own homemade version of a lip exfoliant.

Honey Lemon Lip Exfoliant
3 tsp coarse brown sugar (I used organic Sucanat)
3/4 tsp lemon juice
3/4 tsp olive oil
3/4 tsp honey

Mix the lemon juice, olive oil and honey together in a small bowl. Add the brown sugar and mix until it forms a wet paste.

Wash your lips and pat dry.

Gently apply the exfoliant to your lips and leave for 20 - 30 seconds. Using your finger, gently rub the exfoliant in small circles around your lips.

Use warm water to wipe the exfoliant off  your lips and pat dry.

Now I had a picture of my lips covered in the scrub mixture, but it looked like I had the plague, so I decided not to bless your eyes with that sight. If you have any questions about application, just drop me a line :-)

smooth, clean, shiny lips...and yes, I am sporting one of my sexiest fleece PJ tops here ;-)

Now it's time to moisturize!!!

Use your favourite lip balm or chapstick to give your lips an extra boost of moisture and shine.

Um, I've gotta say not only does this exfoliant work amazingly well and it also tastes pretty darn good.  :-D

*Note: The skin on our lips is very delicate, so you should not exfoliate everyday. I exfoliate once or twice (if my lips are REALLY dry) per week. If you are going out for a night on the town and are planning to wear a full coverage lipstick, you should definitely use this exfoliant to ensure a smooth coverage.*

What's your favourite lip moisturizer to use during the cold, dry months?

Do you love the Winter or are you just counting down the days 'til the first day of Spring?

Have a great day,