Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Move & Sweat: Yoga Journal to Go

I just discovered I can embed this right into my blog from YouTube. Awesome!! Anyway, I just did this 20 minute routine from the awesome folks at Yoga Journal. It's a faster paced yoga practice and if you're looking to get your heart rate up and sweat a little, give this one a try!

Yoga Journal has a great channel on YouTube so be sure to check out there other videos, too! If you give this one a try or any other one, let me know in the comments section :)

Namaste :)

Friday, April 26, 2013

Yup, I'm baking & photographing...again...

Again, I found myself with the cookies getting low in the freezer. I've discovered Facebook (which I have a LOVE-HATE relationship with) & Pinterest are great resource for recipes. And yeah, these recipes I found are relatively healthy. I also love, especially with Pinterest, the photos! There are some talented bakers out there who are also talented photographers. You've probably already gathered that I, too, enjoy photography and I do enjoy coupling this with baking. I love photographing food and capturing all the different textures & colours.

I made these awesome cookies called Banana Oat Breakfast Cookies, adapted from a recipe on the Watching What I Eat blog. This is a very simple recipe with the only sugars coming from a natural source: the banana, apple & dried fruit. Simple, easy but a makes a great snack.

The ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups oatmeal, uncooked
  • 2 ripe mashed bananas
  • 1/3 cup of raisins OR a mixture of dried fruit/sunflower/pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts (totally optional)
  • 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract (don't be using that fake stuff)
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon (but feel free to put in more, especially if you're a cinnamon fiend like I am)
Okay, now what? Be prepared for MANY pics of this process...

Turn the over to 350 degrees. Mash the banana...

Combine oats & cinnamon...

Mix the mashed banana & applesauce together. Add the vanilla & mix again. Add this mixture plus the dried fruit to the oats...

Mix until well combined. If you have a KitchenAid mixer like I do, use it. Let this mixture sit for 10 minutes...

Drop spoonfuls of batter onto a cookie sheet that has parchment paper. You'll notice in the photograph, I did not use parchment paper. USE PARCHMENT PAPER! Trust me...I'll be using it next time...

Bake for about 15-20 minutes or until golden. Voila...

These little cookies turned out awesome! They are soft & chewy. I think any dried fruit, nut or seed would work in it & don't be afraid to maybe throw some chocolate in there, too!

Want the recipe for yourself? I created a google doc of it & you can access it here.

Oh, and if you want to follow me on Pinterest, here I am!


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Trifecta of awesome in the world of baking...

I had an abundance of over-ripe bananas in my kitchen. Over-ripe bananas = TIME TO BAKE! Yesterday, I made a banana loaf which Jeremy took into work him today (one of the things I love about baking is sharing with people). So, that banana loaf used up four of the bananas. That left two on my counter so clearly, I needed to bake something else.

Searching around on Clean Eating magazine's website, I stumbled upon a recipe that melds together the trifecta of awesome: BANANA, PEANUT BUTTER, & CHOCOLATE!! The recipe I made today is Banana & Peanut Flaxseed Cookies. And yes, they have chocolate chips. They were listed as an "optional" addition and to me, chocolate is NEVER optional. Agreed? Yes. It's just like fork marks on peanut butter. IT IS A MUST!

Cookies all set to go in the oven.
Note the fork marks.
The recipe was super-simple, is egg & dairy free and instead of pastry flour, you could use spelt or oat flour. Personally, I love using oat flour for cookies. It adds a really nice flavour and is easy to bake with. Also, if you can find gluten-free oat flour, it'd be easy to make a gluten-free version of these cookies.
All done!!
You can find the full recipe here on Cleaning Eating's website and I also created a document of it in Google docs which you can access here:

  • 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour (I used oat flour)
  • 2 tablespoons ground flax seed
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 medium banana
  • 3/4 cup of maple syrup
  • 1 cup of natural peanut butter
  • 2 teaspoon natural vanilla
  • 1/4 cup of chocolate chips
I mixed the dry ingredients together. Next, I mixed the wet ingredients together. I added wet to dry and mixed the batter using my Kitchen Aid mixer. The yield according to Clean Eating is 28 cookies but I ended up with a very random number of 37. I generally make smaller cookies.

A plate full of cookies! All 37 of them...
And how did they turn out? Jere enjoyed them! They aren't as sweet as other peanut butter cookies I have made but the flavours all blend together quite nicely and I would definitely make them again.

Namaste!! :)

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Yay! It worked...

So, the sprouting has worked! Well, at least for the lentils. The kidney beans are starting to sprout but they are going to take longer than the lentils did. Anyway, here's the lentils after sprouting:

Ta-da!! Sprouted lentils...
So, once they had finished sprouting, I gave them one final rinse and cooked them. Sally Fallon is correct in her book that sprouting does cut down on cooking time! On some sites I read that you don't need to cook the sprouted lentils but I did this time around. Next time, I might try them raw.

Once you've got them sprouted and cooked (if you want), you can add them to salads, sandwiches, soups, etc. They'll be a delicious and nutritious addition to many different meals! From what I've read on various websites including this one, they'll keep for about seven days in the refrigerator.

Also, if you decide to do some sprouting yourself, be very sure you keep rinsing them while you are waiting for the sprouts to get to the desired length. Fallon recommends rinsing at least twice a day but you can do more as well. The reason for rinsing is to prevent mould/slime growth. No one wants that! YUCK!!

So, while I wait for the kidney beans to sprout, I decided I would attempt to sprout quinoa as well. The process is fairly simple and hey, it results in a more nutritious and flavourful food! Sounds like a good deal to me.

Enjoy the weekend!!



Friday, April 12, 2013

Gears: A sort of love letter...

Last Friday was kind of a crappy day for me. It just one of those days (kinda like Friday where I had a case of the "Mondays". Ever had that before?) and I felt like getting lost in a good video game. I knew that would make me feel better. And what better game than Gears of War. It was Gears of War 2 specifically that I selected from our library of video games downstairs. My absolute favourite game series for MANY reasons. I played for two hours, getting lost in the story, the characters and the world of Sera. Why do I love Gears of War so much? Well, there are a few reasons...

To begin with it is the first video game I have ever completed from start to finish. Nope. Not kidding here. I have been playing video games since the age of 7 and it was the first video game I EVER finished. Since then, I've finished a few more, including Halo 3, Bioshock, Marvel: Ultimate Alliance (I get it...those are a few years old. Shhhuuusssshhhh....). Not only did I complete it once but Jeremy and I went back a played the first one nearly all the way through on INSANE difficulty level. You have no idea how much patience this takes (and how much I swear while playing). We have yet to finish it. And where we left of is laughable. The last damn level! We spent nearly two hours one day trying to finish it ON THE SAME DAMN LEVEL! We haven't went back to revisit it since that day and all I remember from it is swearing...a lot.

It's the first game Jeremy and I ever played through together, just the two of us. I was living in Peterborough going to school and he was in Goderich. It was a way we could "hang out" even though we were four hours apart. It also helped me unwind from school. There were some Friday and Saturday nights where we'd play, me in Peterborough and him in Goderich, for hours and hours. It was awesome.

Marcus Fenix...my first video game crush ever. He remains my favourite video game character. I latched onto Marcus within 30 seconds of starting this game and I played as him throughout the game. To this day, when Jeremy and I play a Gears of War game (well, original Gears, 2 & 3), I always play as Marcus. It's the way it is and is an unwritten law of the universe ;) No, it's not Marcus' physique I'm after though I do love his rugged looks. I love his character, his personality, his backstory. It's also his eyes. Their is something about his eyes. Oh, and it's his voice. That rugged, sexy voice of Marcus Fenix. Yup, I love everything about Marcus Fenix...

Marcus, you sexy beast...

The graphics. Gears of War is a visually stunning game. It's one of the reasons why I got so drawn into the world. Yes, it's a lot of greys but to me, it's a visually beautiful game and it sets the mood and tone from the moment in the first game where Marcus is leaving the prison.

There is a mood to Gears, a certain tone. You are playing as characters who are fighting for their home and through the graphics, complexity of the characters and the story that mood is set.

 This is one of the most complex story lines I have encountered in a game. I was drawn into the world of Sera and all these characters. There is so much there. There is Marcus and his backstory and Dom and his search for his lost wife, Maria. I don't want to spoil too much for you in case you decide to go play this game.

Now as much as I've just gone on and on about this game, I have not yet finished Gears of War 2 OR 3 and I have yet to play Gears of War: Judgement. Games have kind of fallen on the wayside for me in the past couple of years but now I'm playing them again a lot more than I was. I've missed them and that's why I'm going to plug away at the Gears games. Not only are the Gears of War games amazing but sometimes, I just love getting lost in the world of Sera with these four awesome dudes:

My four favourite guys in the world of video games:
Baird, Cole, Fenix & Santiago.
I'll leave you with the trailer for Gears of War 2. I remember when this first came out, I had chills when I watched it. I love the song and I can never take my eyes off Marcus:

Namaste :)

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Sprouting Day 2 (Plus what's currently cookin' in the kitchen...)

So, yesterday I started the process of sprouting with kidney beans and lentils. It looked like this:

First day of sprouting. Just added lentils & beans
to jar, filled with water, put on lid/cheesecloth. Now they sit

And when I woke up this morning, I had this:

Day 2 of sprouting before draining water & rinsing.
I get why Fallon in her book "Nourishing Traditions" says to only make the jars 1/4 to a 1/3 full. Those lentils/beans absorb A LOT of water.

I drained the water off & rinsed the beans/lentils. For the kidney beans, I actually had to take them right out of the jar since they had stuck together at the bottom of the jar. For the lentils, I have to do this and was able to drain the water & rinse them without removing them from the jar.

Now the jars are sitting inverted in small bowls:

Sprout my pretties....SPROUT!!
From now until the sprouts grow (could be 1-4 days and it also depends on how long I want the sprouts to be), I will rinse them twice a day and keep them in this position to, as Fallon says, a) drain any excess water and b) let air circulate. So far, this process for sprouting is far better than when I've attempted it in the past. I once tried a method where the beans were wrapped in a damp cloth after soaking them for 24 hours. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't and really, it was not a method I would recommend.

Also, I don't know about where you are but the weather here it SHIT-TAY! Ice pellets, freezing rain and in general, it seems like mid-March instead of April 11th! Winter is giving it one last go, I guess. Clearly, Mother Nature is drunk and needs to go have a nap. So, coupled with the shitastic weather is also my day off (actually a few days off. Hi, welcome to the world of working part time in retail!). I decided I needed to make the most of my time today and as much as I want to shoot locusts in Gears of War 2, I need to re-stock the soups/chilis I keep in my freezer. So, today was all about the red lentil chili:

Trust me...it is delicious!
It's from one of my favourite cookbooks, "Forks Over Knives: Over 300 Recipes For Plant Based Eating Year Round". The only change I made to it was I used black beans instead of kidney beans. Thought I'd mix it up a bit.

Well, wherever you are, I hope you are having a good. Feel free to comment if ya want! I really have no idea if anyone actually reads my ramblings.


Wednesday, April 10, 2013


I'll admit it. I'm a health nut. I love learning all-things nutrition, food, etc. I also love food, trying new food, baking, cooking, etc. Yup, it's a past-time for me. I only work part-time and baking & cooking are one of things that help keep my sanity on my days off ;) That, along with reading Hellboy graphic novels, killing grubs & locusts in Gears of War 2 or attempting to contort my body into some yoga pose. Sorry...I digress...

Back to the topic at hand...

Sprouting beans/lentils is something I've attempted a few times with mixed results. I've decided to attempt it again and hoping this time it'll turn out for the better. It takes a few days. It's a slow process but I believe will be totally worth it. Why? Sprouting increases nutrient value of food, helps with digestion and really, sprouts do look cool. You're really eating something full of vitality and energy. That's my thought anyway.

My "bible" in this process:

"Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges
Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats" by Sally Fallon with
Mary G. Enig, Ph.D.
Right up alley cause I am constantly challenging politcally correct/goverment
directed nutrition ideas such as milk (don't get me started on my stance on drinking
cows milk. Hint: I don't drink it and not just because I'm lactose intolerant). Too long
of a caption for this photo? Whatevs. Get over it. Move on...
Fallon is awesome and gives a history lesson in her chapter on sprouting. Credit for discovering sprouting seeds is credited to the Chinese. These smarty-pants and, ultimately, nutrient savvy people carried mung beans with them on their ocean-going ships, sprouting them throughout the voyage. This was done apparently to prevent scurvy (much like the British giving their sailors limes. Hence the term "limey" being used to describe a British person). The Chinese figured out that vitamin C (plus a whole other host of nutrients) was missing from the non-sprouted seeds. You want more history? Go read Fallon's book.

That leads into the nutrition part of sprouting...

So, we know we get vitamin B. But what else? Fallon states the process of germination changes the composition of the grain/seed in NUMEROUS beneficial ways. B vitamin content is increased, carotene content goes up, etc. And remember when I mentioned it helps digestion? Yup, it sure does! How? It neutralizes this little thing called phytic acid (present in the bran of all grains). This acid is thought to inhibit absorption of the ever-important nutrients calcium, zinc, iron, & copper. Grains, seeds, etc. also have what are called enzyme inhibitors. We have enough issues with digestion in our society due to poor diet and eating processed "foods" and these enzyme inhibitors can inhibit our already tapped supply of digestive enzymes (and what happens? Food doesn't digestion properly.). Sprouting is believed to neutralize these enzyme inhibitors. Have I lost you yet? :p

It's super-easy to sprout and no, you don't need to run out and buy any special equipment. All I used was mason jars, cheese cloth and the metal rim from a mason jar. Here's what I've got growing in my kitchen:

A mason jar, mason jar rim, & cheesecloth. Lentils & kidney beans
starting the sprouting process.

How does this process work? So, after the lentils, beans, seeds or grains (whatever you'd like to sprout), is put into the jar (1/4 to 1/3 full. I realize mine might but a little over that. Shhhhhhhhush.......), you fill it with water (Fallon recommends filtered water but I don't have a water filter) and allow to soak overnight. After that, pour the water off, rinse the seeds (you probably won't have to remove the screen to do this), invert the jar and let it sit at an angle so it can drain and air can circulate. Depending what you're sprouting, it'll take one to four days. So, like I said, takes a bit of time, but totally worth it.

And just what am I going to do with these sprouts? Well, kids, that's for my next entry...

Until tomorrow (or whenever I have sprouts. We'll see how it goes...;) )...

Namaste :)

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Zen, the Vinyl Cafe & Stuart McLean

Zen for me this morning was a run while listening to the Vinyl Cafe podcast. It was awesome. I decided during breakfast that since the sun was out, I needed to get out for a run. I woke up feeling slightly migraine-y and figured the fresh air would do me good instead of popping advil. Guess what? It worked. I feel better, physically & mentally.

If you've never listened to (or even heard of...*gasp*) the Vinyl Cafe, it is AWESOME! It's an hour long variety show hosted by one of the best story tellers I've ever heard, Stuart McLean (oh, and he's Canadian!). It airs on CBC Radio a few times a week and is also available as a podcast. The show usually includes a couple of stories read by McLean as well as a few songs by a guest singer or band. Although I've enjoyed all the Vinyl Cafe shows I've listened to, by far my favourite are the ones where he reads the Dave and Morely stories. They are HILARIOUS!!

Stuart McLean tells a story in such a way that you are just drawn in. You want to listen. And you want to keep listening. I find myself relating to many of the stories he tells. Like the story about when Stephanie, Dave & Morely's daughter, goes to visit her aunt in England. It reminded me of when I was 10 and went with my grandfather to visit my aunt in England. It brought back many wonderful memories for me. It was also a wonderful story! If you're like me, you make sure you're able to tune in whenever he's one CBC radio. I've found myself scheduling when I will wash the kitchen floor for when Vinyl Cafe is on Thursday at 1 pm. If I miss the show and I'm still around in the afternoon, I will switch to a western feed of CBC radio and listen to the portion I've missed. For the last few Sundays, Jere and I are coincidently sitting down to lunch at noon, just as Vinyl Cafe is starting on CBC Radio 1. Another thing I love about it is I can be up doing stuff: cleaning, baking, whatever and listening to McLean tell whatever wonderful story he is telling. I swear the man could read a book on tax or real estate law and make it exciting!

The other thing I love is that I've been introduced to a few cool singers and bands through the Vinyl Cafe. The podcast I listened to today on my run included musical guest The Once. They are from Newfoundland and I really enjoyed hearing them! Enough that I want to listen to more of their songs.

Having the Vinyl Cafe podcast with me on my run/walk this morning was great company. It was, to me, Zen. Sunshine, a run or walk in the fresh air & the Vinyl Cafe...all at once. Awesome. :)

Wednesday, March 13, 2013


I was at Wal-Mart on Sunday with Jeremy. I decided to check to see if any new Monster High dolls were in and sure enough, yes, there were some new dolls! There is a new Cleo de Nile doll I want but I think I'll wait to see if they have sale on them (or wait till I go over to Michigan ;) ). I wandered back to clearance section to see what toys they had and there on the shelf was a Monster High doll! "No way", I thought. I figured it would be too good to be true that a Monster High doll was in the clearance section. The doll was Ghoulia Yelps, daughter of zombies. Jeremy insisted we check the price because he's awesome and knows how much I love Monster High dolls (oh, how I wish I could find Blythe dolls in a clearance section!). The doll came up on the scanner as being $10.00. $10.00!!! Jeremy insisted I buy it at that price. I wasn't about to argue! YAY!!

So, I now have a new doll in my collection. I have yet to give her a name (I don't keep their Monster High names) but she's awesome and fits in quite nicely, as you can see from this group shot of all my dolls:

And here's a shot of just my Monster High dolls, showing Ghoulia's very pretty face up front:

I think what I like about her is her vintage look. She looks like she walked out of the 1940s, which is awesome. Now I just need a name for this new girl. I don't know if I'm going give her an ancient name like I did with Elektra & Elysia or give her something a bit more modern. Hmmmm....

Thursday, March 7, 2013

A Tribute To A Great Canadian

Yesterday, Canadian singer Stompin' Tom passed away at the age of 77 from natural causes. For those that don't know, Stompin' Tom was an iconic Canadian singer. He wrote over 300 songs and is just as Canadian as hockey, a Timbit and poutine. He is probably best known for his song called, quite appropriately,  "The Hockey Song".  Nearly every Canadian, even ones who are not hockey fans, know this song.

I'm a CBC radio junkie and when I'm home, CBC Radio 1 provides the soundtrack to my day. It is great company. Stompin' Tom has been on CBC Radio 1 all day - different stories, tributes & music. I have heard more Stompin' Tom music today than in my entire life (sad, I know). I have learned so much about him and when I was listened to Ontario Today while I had my lunch, I realized what an amazing Canadian we lost yesterday. People who knew him were calling into the radio show and sharing memories. Listening to them, all I could think is he sounded like a fun, down to earth guy. I found out he would hitch hike in his younger days and when he was famous and travelling the road, he would often pick up hitch hikers because he knew what that sort of life was like.

Teachers were calling into the show and saying how they would use Stompin' Tom's songs, such as the "The Name The Capitals" song, to teach their students about Canadian history. That is awesome. I wish my teachers had done that because honestly, I'm thinking I might know about Canada.

Lieutenant-General Romeo Dallaire, author of "Shake Hands With The Devil: The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda" called into the show also. He told the story of when he on his peacekeeping mission in Rwanda and his headquarters was under bombardment, he helped to keep up their morale by playing Stompin' Tom's song "The Blue Berets".

Jian Ghomeshi on CBC 1 radio show Q did a wonderful tribute to Stompin' Tom.

Yesterday, I hardly knew a thing about Stompin' Tom, except that he was a Canadian singer and he wrote & sang "The Hockey Song". Oh, and he liked to stomp his foot when he was on the stage (hence the name...Stompin' Tom). Today, in listening to CBC, I've come to know who he was and what a great Canadian he really was. He will be missed but we can be thankful for all the awesome music he left behind for us. A few days ago, Stompin' Tom wrote a letter to all his fans and I'll close this entry with that letter. It's short yet says so much:
Hello friends,
I want all my fans, past, present, or future, to know that without you, there would have not been any Stompin' Tom.
It was a long hard bumpy road, but this great country kept me inspired with its beauty, character, and spirit, driving me to keep marching on and devoted to sing about its people and places that make Canada the greatest country in the world.
I must now pass the torch, to all of you, to help keep the Maple Leaf flying high, and be the Patriot Canada needs now and in the future.
I humbly thank you all, one last time, for allowing me in your homes, I hope I continue to bring a little bit of cheer into your lives from the work I have done.
Sincerely, Your Friend always,
Stompin' Tom Connors
Thank-you, Stompin' Tom, of reminding me why it's awesome to be from Canada and for sharing so much with us. 

Monday, March 4, 2013


I started my 2013 garden last week. Inside, of course, because it's still freaking winter/cold here in the great white north.

Not even a week has passed & I see green!!

Yup, the arugula has sprouted and is growing!! Yay!! Hoping the other plants will follow along soon but I think of them all, arugula had the shortest germination time.

Friday, March 1, 2013


So, today, it's real exciting. I'm making veggie stock for a soup! Yay! Can you contain yourself? I didn't think so. Those of you that know me, know I am a health nut, a bit of a food geek & I LOVE to cook and bake. One area though I have never been confident in is with soups and stews. Nope. No confidence. Until a few weeks ago...

My friend went on a soup kick. She's a stay-at-home mum and in an effort to be healthier, decided to start making her own soups (I've tried some of them and they are delicious!). I was inspired by her and decided to do the same thing. So far, I've made a couple different lentil soups and they have turned out delicious! You might be wondering why I was so impeded in this area. It was stupidly simple...I didn't want to use store-bought veggie broth because of all the crap they put in it and I just assumed making your own veggie stock/broth took hours.


Thanks to this awesome vegan recipe book called "How To All Vegan", I found out how easy it is:
Awesome vegan recipe book!!!

Yup, this book is awesome! My friend lent it to me and I'm thinking of picking up a copy at some point. I've made a few things out of it (including vegan french toast which Jere loved!) and they've all been delicious! Okay, so back to it...

Yes, so thanks to this book I have found out how simple veggie stock is to make. Take veggie trimmings (all those parts of the veggies you don't eat...like celery leaves, although those are good in salads, carrot ends, broccoli stems, pieces of onion, etc), throw it in a pot with water, bring it to a boil and let it simmer for 45 minutes to an hour. The flavour is drawn out of the veggies as they simmer and VOILA...you have homemade veggie stock that is sodium free, does not have MSG or any other additives. If you wanna add some herbs, a bit of salt or pepper, garlic, go ahead. When it's done, you just strain the veggies out and you are left with your stock to make some delicious soups, stews and even chili. 

I stay away from store-bought stocks because often, they contain MSG (watch out for autolyzed/hydrolyzed extracts; those are forms of MSG), added sugar, nasty preservations & SODIUM! Some broths have over 40% of the recommended in take of sodium. I've also tried store-bought veggie stocks and the flavour is nothing in comparison to a homemade broth.

Yes, I realize it takes time to do this but once you get it started, it just simmers away on the stove. If you've been chopping lots of veggies and you're gonna be home, why not throw them in a pot with water and make some veggie stock? I'll seriously get this stuff going and go play videogames, clean, work on my plan to take over the world or write a blog post, while it simmers away! Oh, and you don't have time to make soup? RELAX! You can freeze this stock and when you're ready to make soup, you've got it!

I know. Not the most exciting entry in the world but for you foodies out there, maybe I'll inspire you!

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Thoughts of Spring...

So, spring is literally just around the corner! Yesterday, I started planning my gardening by flipping through the Veseys 2013 Seed Catalogue. I made a list of what vegetables I wanted to plant this year. It's pretty ambitious but here's what I'm thinking thus far:

  • Yellow Beans
  • Beets
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Carrots
  • Corn
  • Kale
  • Leeks
  • Arugula
  • Peas
  • Radishes
  • Spinach
  • Zucchini
Jere and I also decided we'd make the garden bigger which has me ridiculously excited (if I could turn the entire backyard into a vegetable garden, I would...complete with a few backyard chickens even though I'm  pescetarian. Jere eats chicken...so that would be okay). Corn needs a lot of space to grow and so do tomatoes (unless I do them in containers. Haven't decided for sure yet). I'm going to plant some veggies in the garden plots in the backyard AND also do container gardening.

The garden bug has really bit me this year since this morning I went out to TSC and picked up some organic seeds, potting soil mix, and some little terracotta pots (okay, I got those at the Dollar Store) because after yesterday I AM READY TO GARDEN!! Really, I'm sick of winter of winter and this is my way of fighting back.

So, I've got the seeds:

That's actually just a few of my seeds. Most of them I bought today but a couple packages are from last year and I'm hoping (*fingers crossed*), they will grow!

I mixed two types of potting mix, put it in the little terracotta pots and VOILA:

It's nice to see this sitting by the front window. It reminds of spring and how much I enjoy gardening. In case you can't read it, I have planted so far: Garlic Chives, Parsley, Basil and Spinach. I have two more pots to get ready this afternoon. I'll probably plant some Arugula and one other herb (haven't decided which one yet). 

Now I'm eagerly awaiting May 24 weekend when I can start gardening OUTSIDE! I'm hoping the last frost will have happened by then and that we don't have a shitty spring like we did last year. 

If you garden, have you thought about your 2013 garden yet? What are you going to plant? 

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Another recipe...

Thought I'd share another recipe with all of you today. Again, there was the ripe bananas on the counter & I felt like baking. Good combo, eh? Today, I made chocolate cupcakes using a recipe I adapted from Vegetarian Times.

  • 1 1/2 cups of Spelt flour
  • 1/2 cup dry sweetener
  • 1/3 cup of unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup sour non-dairy milk (I used unsweetened Almond milk and added about a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar)
  • 2 bananas
  • 1/3 cup of applesauce
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  1. Turn the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Whisk non-dairy milk with about a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar. Set aside. 
  3. Mash the banana. Add applesauce and vanilla to the banana and mix together. Add the sour milk to this mixture and mix again. 
  4. Mix together all the dry ingredients.
  5. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix together. 
  6. Pour into muffin tins. Makes 12 cupcakes.
  7. Bake for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in through the centre comes out clean. 
These turned out pretty good! They're moist and Jeremy enjoyed one for his afternoon snack today. These would be great with some icing on them (not for me though...I do not have a sweet tooth and I hate icing!).

If you end up making these, please let me know what you think and if you changed anything. 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

'Nuff said...

A friend of mine had this posted on Facebook. I think this sums up every cat I have known. Ever.

Sunday, February 24, 2013


As a kid, I spent a lot of time with my grandma. Her and I would bake together and this is why I have such a passion for baking. She was an all-around awesome lady in every way, shape & form that a person can be awesome. Baking was just part of this and besides making what is perhaps the world's best apple pie, she also made some kick-ass bran muffins. While I am never able to replicate the deliciousness that was her bran muffins, I have found a recipe for bran muffins I am happy with. I adapted it from one of my "go-to" baking books (which I have mentioned before in this entry), "The Cookie and Biscuit Bible".

I'm having one of "those" mornings that accompany a shitty sleep. Being as baking is a way I cope with anxiety/stress AND I happened to have some ripe bananas on the counter, I decided to bake some bran muffins. I also needed an idea for a blog post for today so I thought I would share this recipe.

  • 1 banana
  • 2/3 cup of flour
  • 1/2 cup of flour (the original recipe uses two different types of flour. Feel free to use two different types such as brown rice & spelt, oat & spelt or whatever you desire. Also, you can just use one type and because I suck at math, I'm not going to work out how many cups that is total so just deal with. 'K thanks...)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon (again, I am a cinnamon fiend so feel free to use less. I don't know why you would though because cinnamon is AWESOME and you would doing yourself a disserve to use any less than this...)
  • 1/2 cup bran (I use real bran but feel free to use All-Bran cereal. Just soak it in the Almond milk and add it to the dry ingredients when you add the wet ingredients. I really don't know if All-Bran will work for this because I've never actually tried. So, if you try it, please let me know if it actually works. If not...sorry...whatevs...)
  • 1/3 cup of walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons of molasses
  • 1/4 cup of sugar
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 egg or equivalent egg replacer powder
  1. Turn the oven to 350 degrees F. 
  2. Mash the banana. Add the molasses, almond milk & egg replacer powder. Mix together. 
  3. Mix the dry ingredients together. 
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Mix together.
  5. Pour into muffins tins. Makes about 12 muffins.
  6. Bake for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted through the center comes out clean. 
  7. Enjoy.
A few notes...

  • Instead of one banana, you can use a 1/4 cup of pumpkin. If you do this, add ginger and pumpkin pie spice to the recipe AS WELL AS the cinnamon. Just add to taste basically. I think I usually add between 1/4 and 1/2 teaspoon of each. Basically, a 1/4 cup of any fruit puree would work for this. 
  • THESE ARE FREAKING DELICIOUS WITH PEANUT BUTTER OR APPLE BUTTER (the natural stuff. Not the shit that has high-frutose corn syrup/glucose-fructose/fructose-glucose).
One change I want to try and make to this recipe, is to find a source of fiber instead of bran. I'm thinking psyllium husks, since (and please don't quote me on this) this is a gentler source of bran. Bran can be harsh on some people's digestive tracts and I'd like to find something else to use. Any suggestions?

If you end up trying this recipe, please let me know what you think of it and if you make any changes.

Have a good day :)

Friday, February 22, 2013


Need a book for the weekend? Here's a few I've read recently that I've really enjoyed:

"February" by Lisa Moore is winner of Canada Reads 2013 and one of the best books I've ever read. This is the story of Helen O'Mara, whose husband was killed when the oil rig Ocean Ranger sank in 1982. Lisa Moore is a beautiful writer and I could not put this book down. The book slips between past and present. It is not plot driven but Moore's writing style makes you want to keep reading. Right from the beginning, I cared about the characters and I wanted to know how their story played out. I won't say anymore about it. Just read it!

"Secrets From The Vinyl Cafe" by Stuart McLean is a collection of short stories revolving around one family, their friends & neighbors. I stumbled upon the Vinyl Cafe stories through CBC radio and fell in love with Stuart McLean's story telling. The book? Just as awesome. It's perfect if you've just got five minutes to sit and read. The stories are hilarious yet I could still relate to the characters. Perfect if you're looking for something funny to read!

"The Secret Keeper" by Kate Morton is a wonderful book. Again, another "can't put it down" read. Morton is a wonderful story teller and really, if you can't find "The Secret Keeper" at your local bookstore or library, just read any of her books. I've also read "The House At Riverton" and "The Forgotten Garden" and yes, I could not put them down! She weaves a story from the viewpoint of a few characters and as always, there is a twist. As in her other books, you get to know the characters and you want to follow them on their journey, usually solving a family mystery. 

Those are just a few books I've read recently and very much enjoyed!

What are you reading this weekend??

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Current Playlist

It's one of those days where I just can't think of anything to write. I'm just fiddling around on the interwebz and of course, I've got music on. I hate silence so I always have music or CBC radio on. I'm building a playlist in grooveshark of my current favourites (believe me, the current favourites will change in a few days).

So, just what is on my playlist?

  • "Wonderwall" by Oasis
  • "Ho Hey" by the Lumineers
  • "I Will Wait" by Mumford & Sons
  • "Lover's Eyes" by Mumford & Sons
  • "Broken Crown" by Mumford & Sons
  • "Man Of Two Minds" by the Trews
  • "Highway of Heroes" by the Trews
  • "Gods Gonna Cut You Down" by Johnny Cash 
  • "Anything Could Happen" by Ellie Goulding
  • "The Times They Are A-Changin" by Bob Dylan
  • "Run" by Collective Soul
And that's what I've got so far! What I want to listen to all depends on the mood in.

I've also got this crazy talent of being able to memorize the lyrics of a song after the second time hearing it (or close to memorizing). The problem? I can't sing worth a shit! ;)

Until tomorrow...

Wednesday, February 20, 2013


Yesterday, I finished "February" by Lisa Moore (on a side note, this book is the winner of Canada Reads 2013). It was an amazing book, one of the best I've ever read! Immediately (and I mean immediately) after finishing it, I picked up my next book, "Two Solitudes" by Hugh MacLennan and read the forward by the author (all of two pages). It's a 509 page book and I'm 35 pages in. I'm gonna be at least a week reading it. Yet...I got antsy.

Yeah, I'm that type of reader. The type that gets antsy if they don't have a book to immediately grab when they finish one book. Now, I do have a few books on hold at the library but some of them I'm 5 or 6 in the queue. It'll be awhile before I get them. I am "1" in the queue for "1982" by Jian Ghomeshi. Still...it could be a couple of weeks before I get this book.

Would it surprise you that I ended up at the library this afternoon? Yup, I went out in the shitty winter weather to take "February" back. And since I had to go inside the library , I decided to grab another book. Just one to have waiting in the wings for when I finish "Two Solitudes". I ended up getting "Vinyl Cafe Unplugged" by Stuart McLean. I LOVE the vinyl cafe stories! Last week, I had just started "February" and went to the library on Friday. Luckily, "Two Solitudes" was waiting for me so I picked it up. I was antsy since I didn't have a book to grab immediately when I finished "February". Weird, I know.

Okay, I know, you're thinking..."Wait, don't you have books at home?! Why run out to the library? And wait...don't you work in a bookstore?". Yes, on both counts. This is going to sound weird but I read more when I check books out of the library. It gives me a deadline to finish them by and plus, if I don't like a book, I can just take it back and I'm not out any money. If I bought all the books I read, we'd be broke!

If you're a book geek like me, do you get antsy if you don't have a book waiting in the wings? Or do you take a break for a day?

Tuesday, February 19, 2013


In mid-March, Jere and I will be headed with 8 of our friends to PAX East in Boston. We are both super excited about this trip!! Neither of us has ever been to Boston OR to PAX. While I only be spending one day at PAX and than I think the plan is to do some site seeing with my gal pals on the other two days we are there, I still wanted to have a costume.

And I have been wracking my brain trying to come up with me.

And...I had NOTHING! And it was stressing me out...seriously, it was.

In a bit of Twitter conversation earlier today, my friend suggested My Little Pony costume for myself and our other friend. Needless to say, it totally inspired me. My friend is going as a MLP. I started looking around for MLP cosplay and LOVED what I saw. I started looking on Etsy and within five minutes declared to myself "I WANT ALL THE PONY STUFF!". So yup...an MLP costume it shall be for me at PAX East. Which one? Well, I haven't decided 100% but I am learning towards Applejack:

Now, comes the fun part...throwing together the costume! I have about a month to do so.

My "dream" item for the costume is this wig made by GimmCat:

I'm sure I'll blog more about my progress and of course, I'll post a pic of me in said costume. :)

Monday, February 18, 2013

Coming Of Age Movies...

Can't get much more blunt than that title, eh? Or much more Canadian than saying "eh". ;)

On Saturday morning on CBC Radio 1, there was a discussion about coming of age movies. They had a few teenagers on the show chatting about what their favourite coming of age movies were. They also read listeners' e-mails about the same subject. Jere and I got to chatting about what some of our favourites were. I sent a couple e-mails to CBC (and although they weren't mentioned on the air, the movies I said were my favourite "Coming Of Age" movies were mentioned on the CBC Fresh Air Facebook page!). So, what were my coming of age movies? Here we go:

  • Dazed & Confused
  • Stand By Me
  • Now & Then
  • American Graffiti
  • The Breakfast Club
  • How To Make An American Quilt
One of the teens on the radio mentioned "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" as being a coming of age movie for them. Jere and I chatted about this and while it is an awesome movie and a favourite of ours, for both of us it is not one we consider a "coming of age" movie. I think for me, it's cause I didn't really relate to the characters. At least not in the way, I related to at least one or two of the characters in the movies I mentioned above. In "Now & Then", I totally related to Christina Ricci's character Roberta, and in "The Breakfast Club", it was the character of Allison I identified with (I think everyone has a character they can identify with in that movie). 

It was a very cool discussion and brought back lots of great memories of watching these movies with friends and how totally into them we were. I still enjoy watching all of these movies and it reminds me I haven't seen some of them in years. Clearly, I need to do some movie watching! ;)

What are some of the movies you consider to be "coming of age" movies? 

Saturday, February 16, 2013


By that I mean the good kind of "lost". You know, when you watch a movie or book and you get totally drawn into the story and the characters.

All my life, I have enjoyed reading. I was always reading as kid. In grade 5, I remember getting in trouble because I would read during math (this probably explains why I suck at the subject). I still won the reading award that year though.

I love getting lost in a good book. You know, one where you really get to know the characters and you become so immersed in the world that author has created? Lost in the sense you can't put the book down? When you're away from the book and not reading it, you're thinking about and you absolutely can't wait to get back to that book to see what happens? Yeah, that kind of lost. It is awesome.

Right now, the book I am "lost" in is "February" by Lisa Moore. This novel is the winner of CBC's 2013 Canada Reads competition. It's the story of a woman named Helen who's husband Cal died in 1982 while working on the oil rig Ocean Ranger. I had never heard of this disaster until I heard of this book. Already, this book is scoring major points with me because I'm a history geek and I love to learn and this is a sad event in Canadian history that I'm wondering just how many people know about. It's something they should know about. Now, they can through this book.

I was drawn into the story from the beginning. I'm only half way through and I'm itching to read a bit more. It's a sad novel but I love the characters and I love Lisa Moore's writing style. I already know I want to read more of her books. I was "lost" in this book from the beginning.

Next up for me to read is "Two Solitudes" by Hugh MacLennan. It is not a book I ever would have thought of reading but I decided to read all the contenders in Canada Reads this year. Hearing the debates on CBC though, I am looking forward to reading this book.

I've already read "Away" by Jane Urquhart, another contender in Canada Reads 2013. This book was beautifully written but left me with a "meh" kind of feeling because I could not connect with the characters and (to be blunt), I didn't really give two shits about the characters. Some of it, I thought, "Um yeah...that never would have happened". I just felt disconnected from it.

What book are you currently "lost" in? Were you "lost" in it from the beginning or did it take awhile?

Whatever you are reading, I hope you are enjoying it :)

Friday, February 15, 2013


"Winter is coming".

Fans of the "Song Of Ice & Fire" series by freaking amazing author George R.R. Martin & the TV series based on the books, "Game Of Thrones", will know this as the motto of House Stark.  In Canada, this pretty well describes how I (and, I'm sure, other people) feel from spring right through to whenever the hell the snow decides to fly.

As a kid, I don't recall hating winter. Hell, I don't even recall ever feeling cold! I had frostbite in grade 3 and didn't realize it until my teacher pointed it out after recess and I think my reaction was "Oh...that's why hands and wrists are white". I remember the recess, too. The snow banks were piled freaking high and I remember something about "King of the castle" and getting pushed around in the snow a lot, laughing and somewhere in there, losing a mitten and a not giving two shits about it. I wasn't cold or I didn't feel it, that's for sure.

I also went tobogganing and don't recall feeling the cold. I went cross country skiing a few times. Winter was fun.

I remember I was around 17 or 18 when I finally felt the cold one winter. A bitter cold winter night and all I could think was "for shitshakes, are winter's getting colder?". Visions of Florida danced in my head and at the time, my family and I would take regular trips there.

I now can proudly proclaim I HATE WINTER. I have no desire to do winter sports, I hate the cold and I am counting down the days until spring! Last winter, we were lucky here in Canada and had a rather mild winter. This winter? I'm done. And I'm pretty sure it's not as bad as some of the previous winters we had back when I was a kid. I swear I now wear like 50 layers before going outside and about 25 when I'm in the house. Maybe I'm getting old ;)

My partner and I have pretty much decided that IF we win the lotto, we are packing our shit up and moving to Florida. Well, at least for the winter. He hates the winter, too.

Also, if I won the lotto, I would have a house in Tennessee because who wouldn't want to wake up to this everyday:

I'm pretty sure Tennessee has milder winters than here. I could live with that.  :)

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Lent - Does it have to be about giving up?

Lent began yesterday. It's a time when you give up something, usually a luxury, for 40 days. If you want to know more, google it.

I'm not Catholic. I'm not Christian. I haven't been for ages (really, it seems like forever ago that I said "F IT!" it organized religion but that is besides the point here). I had a friend ask me though a few weeks ago, "What are you giving up for Lent?". Well, I replied, I hadn't really thought about but maybe I will give something up. In the past, myself & lapse-Catholic partner have given up things just for fun. To challenge ourselves, I guess one could say. One year it was fast food (those that know me laugh are probably thinking "She once ate fast food?". Yes, I did. On a regular basis. Now I will not touch a Big Mac or "chicken" McNuggets with a 20 foot pole while wearing a biohazard suit. McDonald's does have decent coffee & green tea though so that is the only time I will darken their doorstep), another year we gave up potato chips. Neither of us have given anything up for a few years. This year? Well, I hadn't followed Lent in a few years. I'm not religious so really, why would I? I also couldn't think of anything to give up.

But, I got to thinking and was inspired by the discussion about Lent on CBC Radio 1 the other day (I am a CBC radio 1 junkie). I thought "what could I give up? Or do?". Than I thought...I've really been wanting to post more on this blog. So, for Lent I'm giving up not posting enough on this blog. I know, it might seem silly but I really want to make a habit of writing more because I do enjoy writing. So, for the next 40 days (and yes, I realize I'm a day late so I'll do posts today) I'll write a post a day. It does not have to be anything profound and it can be totally random but I will sit down, write/type and hit PUBLISH.

So, this shall be entry number 1 in the 40 days of posting.

And just out of curiousity, did you give anything up for Lent? Or not?

I leave you with a few Lent-related links of the different things are happening surrounding it:

40acts - based out of the UK, a very cool thing to do. Basically, random acts of kindness.

40 Random Acts Of Kindness

Do you know of any other Lent-related movements that are happening? Let me know and I'll add the link to this entry.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Why, yes, I do play with dolls...

Yup, at the age of 30 I have decided to collect dolls. Or, as the title suggests, play with dolls. And by play, I mean photograph. Yup, I have a Flickr account devoted to my dolls. Curious? Check it out. I am not responsible if you are creeped out. If you're creeped out by my dolls, that's your own issue and clearly you have demons that  need to be dealt with. Please go deal with that or continue reading and let me introduce you to my girls...

Please meet Laura...

She's an inquisitive gal
Laura is a Blythe doll, a Prairie Posie to be exact. She's had mods (to my Blythe buddies, apologies if that is not the correct word. If it's not, please let me know!! Thanks in advance!) done to her, by my awesome friend Maggi a.k.a. Kawaii Kandy on Flickr. In short, new eye chips, spray matte on her face, gaze/boggling, bit of a hair trim & wash, pretty green sleep eyes...


And that awesome hat? Maggi made that for Laura (Maggi is awesome!!). 

Oh, and some new charms on her pulls, including this awesome green kitteh...

Maggi did an incredible job and I am so happy with how Laura looks now. She is much more photogenic and just seems to have so much more personality! 

And (yes, I have more!) these are my other girls...

Elektra, a bookworm

Elysia, a self-proclaimed aristocrat
Elektra (former name: Cleo de Nile. Now that I think of, their is a porn star of a similar name) & Elysia (Frankie Stein). are Monster High dolls. They have no custom work done on them and the only change I've made is to their names. I doubt if I will change the way they look other than maybe a change of clothes. Elysia's dress is a wee bit short and I don't need to be re-creating "Basic Instinct" when I'm taking pics of her. So yes, a wardrobe change is in order for her.

Why did I decide to collect dolls? Just cause! It's a great hobby, it gives me an opportunity to pursue my photography and photo editing hobby. In fact, since I started collecting dolls, I find my passion for photography coming back. I enjoy collecting these girls, naming them and giving them personalities. And yes, there have been a few people that are creeped out by it or find it odd. But guess what? It's my thing, I enjoy it and it allows me to be creative. I just enjoy it!  End.Of.Story. & Get.Over.It.

I got the Blythe bug, so to speak, in May 2012, when my partner and I took a trip to the Carolinas to visit friends. One of those friends was Maggi, her husband Chris and their awesome kiddos. Maggi is a doll collector,too and in short, this is how I was introduced to Blythe. I was instantly drawn to her collection and just how much personality each girl seemed to have. Maggi is also quite talented when it comes to photography. Very soon (literally, hours after visiting her...), I had joined Blythe Kingdom and was trying to learn all I could (I still consider myself a "newbie" to the world of Blythe). In July 2012, I ordered Laura and the rest is history! Laura is my first Blythe (but not last!) and also first doll that started this hobby I am now into.