Thursday, November 13, 2014


I feel a change brewing, something new on the horizon. It's been coming for awhile now, several months in fact, but it feels closer now, like my life is changing course....and I'm ready. Life is an organic, ever changing thing and for that I'm grateful. I don't want to be stagnant, and I welcome these changes with open arms. I want to experience all that life has to offer and I want that for my children too. I want to do things that speak to my soul, things that make my heart happy.

I'm ready....

Monday, November 3, 2014

Book Review: A House in the Sky

I took a bit of a blog break for the last month or so, I just wasn't feeling all that inspired. I think it's because I was fighting a sugar addiction. It's like a rabbit hole for me...I just keep going down. It's pretty hard to write about clean and healthy living when you're not practicing what you preach. Sugar is a tough one for me. I can't seem to cut it out until I'm feeling really bad....itchy, face breakouts, sluggish, bloated and grumpy. I know...a real treat. Anyway, I'm back on track now, the three family birthdays in the last month are over along with Halloween so no excuses for sugar. 

Now for the book. A House in the Sky is the story of Amanda Lindhout, a young waitress working in Calgary, Alberta. More than anything she wanted to travel, so she made it happen. She would waitress for six months saving up all her money and then travel on a shoestring budget for the next six months. Loving the traveling experiences and wanting to find a way to travel all the time she taught herself photography and begin trying to make her way as a freelance journalist. This eventually brought her to war torn Somalia and only four days into her trip there she was abducted and held for ransom.....for FIFTEEN months. Her experience was quite horrific but I was amazed at how powerful our minds are and how she managed to get herself through. 

This book is a must read, a truly amazing story of courage, and the triumph of the human spirit.
I took this photo lying in bed as soon as I finished the book and shared it on The Pulse Facebook page, I had to, I hope you read it too.

Monday, October 6, 2014

My Menu for the Week

I'm just about to head out shopping for this weeks meal ingredients, here is what we're having this week (I'm already drooling...).

I've been wanting to make a cauliflower crust pizza for awhile and for whatever reason just haven't gotten around to it. Tonight is the night and I can't wait, this looks so delicious. I'll be serving it with an apple, beet and carrot salad on the side.

This dish is easy peasy, add a green salad on the side and it's perfect.

I actually made this soup last night and it was absolutely delicious. There is minimal prep and it simmers for just 30 minutes. I'm including it this week so you have five recipes as we'll be dining out this Friday. :)

Another quick and easy recipe loaded with fiber from the sweet potatoes and beans. I love any recipe with lots of cumin.

This salad looks delicious and is loaded with some of my favourite flavours...sesame oil and rice vinegar...yes please!

I just realized that four of my five recipes this week are vegetarian, easy on digestion and the win.

Monday, September 29, 2014

My meal plan for the week

I've gotten a few requests to share my weekly meal plan so I thought I would start doing it on Mondays. It's always nice to have ideas for new dishes so you don't get stuck in a rut, and the flavour, texture variation is both delicious and good for your children to get used to. My kids will both eat just about everything, Ella always did...Marshall not so much...that was pure stubborn dedication on my part. Monday is my main shopping day so I thought it would be a good day to share my meal plan as well.

Here's what we're having this week along with links showing where to find the recipe:

Enlightened Miso Power Bowl - this is from my Oh She Glows cookbook but I searched around online until I found the recipe so I could link it for you.

I try to eat meat free at least 2-4 days a week. This week it's three, although the above salad does have one slice of bacon per serving so it's not quite meat free but it's close and you can leave the bacon out if you want. This week two of the meals are vegan as well with no animal products at all. I am not vegetarian or vegan but I do try to limit my meat eating a bit and try to get in more veg instead. It gives my digestion a bit of a break.

So that's how we'll be eating dinners this week. Let me know if you try any of the above and what you think and if you'd like me to continue with the meal plan posts.
 Have a great week!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Great Finds

This came across my Facebook feed recently and I loved it. Elizabeth Gilbert shares her advice on following your passion and changes it up a bit.

Bee Pollen is something that I've recently been adding to my diet. Here are 10 Amazing Health Benefits of Bee Pollen, a fantastic you take it?

As you may know I have been walking every evening for nearly a month now. I walk between 7 and 10km and while I love music it takes a lot of new music to keep things fresh on the walk. I recently decided to try listening to books on my iPhone while I walk and so far it has been excellent. My first book is Gillian Flynn's Dark Places. It's dark as the title suggests, but I loved her book Gone Girl and this is just as good. An audiobook gives me hours and hours of walking time, and I'm so glad I started doing this. Audible is the program I'm using and they offer a free trial of one book to see how you like it, an excellent deal.

Speaking of books, I have to share a recent library find, and one that I'll be adding to my own personal collection because I loved it so much. Joyous Health is chalk full of great information, recipes and photos to help you live a life of good health and wellness. I highly recommend it. A big bonus to me is that Joy McCarthy is based out of Toronto and you know I love to feature Canadian content as much as I can.You can check out Joy's website here. 

There are many online bloggers that I cook the most delicious recipes from and I love to share my favourites with you. Today I'm featuring this one from Cookie And Kate, I've made it many many times and it's SO good. It's also very easy to put together which is always nice.

Hope you're having a great week!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Fall Fashion Wish List

Have you noticed all the 90's trends making their way back into current fashion? Birkestocks...keds...florals...aztec..plaid (grunge anyone?)'s everywhere. It's also a throwback to my youth as my teen years were spent in the nineties, I guess it had to happen sometime. ;)

Here are a few things on my wish list for the fall:

Grey jeans. I can actually cross these off my list as I bought these exact ones yesterday. I love the seam detailing on the fun.

These great patterned pants. Old Navy calls them pixie pants but I call them cigarette pants....a real retro throwback that I love. Can't you just see Audrey Hepburn in these?

A slouchy cognac coloured cross body bag. It's hard to find just the right bag but I'm really digging this one from J Crew:

(image from Pinterest)

Love these, and they would go great with my new grey jeans.

Aztec print sweater. I love this one from BB Dakota.

Ankle boots. I'm loving these ones from Aldo (on sale!):

What's on your wish list for the fall?

Monday, September 8, 2014

Wellness update and Book of the Month Club read

Good morning! Happy Monday!
My journey to wellness is I've made some major (but very doable) changes to my diet and lifestyle and it's making a huge difference in not only my body but my mental state as well. One of the biggest changes I've made is to drop the junk, almost nothing processed. Overall most of the actual meals I made during the day were just that...homemade, it's the snacking that was killing me. Ice cream (or Cheezies...eeek!) in the evening was not only making me feel icky but it was adding pounds too. Now, it's not like this was any kind of revelation, I knew these things were bad I was just doing them anyway. In the past when I've tried any kind of diet goal was always weight loss..."lets get skinny!", this time around that is not my goal. This time my focus is on getting fit and healthy...weight loss is a side perk.

My meals are completely focused on nourishment and giving my body what it needs to perform at it's best. I eat slowly and mindfully, paying close attention to when I've had enough rather than mindless eating or snacking. Trainer Kathleen said something that really stuck at our last meeting...."Hunger is not an emergency".  We are not going to starve if we miss a meal, or are late having lunch, or don't get to eat when we think we should. Slow down, don't shovel food in, or eat when you aren't hungry because you won't get a chance again for a few hours. This is a bit of a mental game, well, more than a bit really...slowing down can be hard. Another thing that stuck from Kathleen is "we can justify any food when we're hungry", and she is so right. I find that if I carry a little something with me ( a baggy of almonds, a banana, an apple) it's almost like a little reassurance that there is something there if I need it. If I do get in the situation where I'm really feeling hungry I know that I have a food choice that is good for me rather than one that is not nourishing my body.
I have gone from pretty much zero activity to walking 7 to 10 kilometers every single night, almost without fail. My husband Chris knows that I'm heading out the door at 7:30 always, and while I did fight a little guilt about not putting the kids to bed and leaving him to do it by himself I really feel like this is important enough to me that it has to happen. It's me time, this walking is good for both my physical and mental well being, and it helps me sleep better.

To show you what this change has done for me beyond the mental aspect I'll tell you about my two week results when I went to see Kathleen:

Down 7.5lbs
Lost 6 inches
Down 2.75% body fat

That's just in two weeks...crazy hey?

I've started doing some gentle stretches with my kids right after we wake up in the morning. It's our family yoga time and they (and I) love it. It only takes about 10 minutes, and it's such a fabulous way to start the day.
I have been looking into some local yoga classes for myself but in the interest of time and money management I think I might be better off doing some of it at home. Does anyone have any recommendations? Any great online sites?

Have you started your Book of the Month Club read yet? This one is written by a waitress from Calgary, Alberta and has gotten great reviews. What do you think?

I'm off to make breakfast....a piece of whole wheat toast with avocado and an egg, enjoy your day!

Here's a great tune if you need an extra little push:

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Fitbit Flex

Just a quick post today in the middle of a busy week....have you heard of the Fitbit Flex?

This little device is so awesome and worth every penny. It's super lightweight so it hardly feels like you have anything on and it tracks your footsteps all day long. You can set goals (mine is set at 15,000 and I've been hitting it nearly everyday), track your calories if you want to and find out how many hours of sleep you're getting (and if you wake up or are restless during the night). You can check in via phone or computer at any time to see how you're doing (or a quick double tap on the device shows you how close you are to your goal) and at the end of the week you get an email telling you how you did that week and what your average was daily. 
It's highly motivating to have a specific goal everyday and I find myself taking extra steps to complete jobs or instead of sending the kids to grab something for me I do it myself.
The band comes in lots of different colours (I have it in slate) but if you want to keep it chic then you can head on over to Tory Burch for something really beautiful.

I love this bracelet:

Do you have a Fitbit Flex? What do you think of it?

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

A Focus on What's in Season: Zucchini

It's no secret I love zucchini. If my husband wants to win over my stomach at dinner he just grills a little of it up on the BBQ with some olive oil and fresh herbs and sits back and smiles while I exclaim  how GOOD dinner is. 

Naturally when planting my garden this year it had to include some (many) zucchini, and now that my plants are producing pretty rapidly I had to come up with some great low calorie ways to use up the excess. 

Before I get into the recipes are there any gardening gurus out there that can tell me what these spots are on my plants? They kind of look!

So when I think of using up excess zucchini I always think of Zucchini Bread, but because I'm trying to cut some of the excess calories I had to find a tasty low sugar/fat one. This one from SkinnyTaste is pretty good, it's not that sweet but the chocolate chips make up for that. I think I could have cooked mine a little longer even though I baked it the full 55 min and the toothpick came out clean when inserted. Zucchini is very moist and it can take awhile to cook, so just a heads up on that one...mine was slightly doughy. Swapping out the oil for applesauce is always an easy way to keep things a bit lower fat, but still keep the moisture. If you try this recipe let me know what you think.

This next recipe was a huge winner, everyone gobbled it up at dinner time and I had it for lunch the next day too. One Pan Skinny Tex Mex Chicken and Zucchini....that's a mouthful...a delicious mouthful! ;) 
This recipe is very easy, prep is pretty minimal and clean up is a cinch with only one pan. It's packed with flavour (I heart cumin so it easily won me over), and is a very good way to use up your extra zucchini. I reduced the cheese to a generous half cup but otherwise kept everything the same.

What have you been doing to use up your zucchini? Please share as I still have lots!

Are you still reading this months Book of the Month Club read (Wild by Cheryl Strayed)? I blazed through it, and loved it. The author has a great writing style and really pulled me into her story. 
It's time to start thinking about what Septembers read will be. Thoughts on A House in the Sky by Amanda Lindhout? It looks really good, and stays in the memoir vein that Wild started. Feedback please. :)

Monday, August 25, 2014

Food and Fitness Update

If you follow me on Instagram then you may have seen some of these photos already. I wanted to give you an idea of what I'm eating and some of the changes I've been making. My big focus has been not to make it more than I can handle, I don't want to set myself up to fail.... this is a permanent change.
I have really upped my water intake, not so crazy that I'm chained to the bathroom but I am definitely drinking much more than before...must flush the toxins out! I've also changed to only one cup of tea during the day, I drink it along with my breakfast. It's not that I think tea is bad, it's just that this really encourages me to drink more water, and because I take just under a tsp of sugar in my tea that helps eliminate that too.

I've nearly eliminated my processed sugar intake, it's pretty much just that morning cup of tea. In exchange I've been eating a lot more fruit, remember I said I wanted to keep this doable, and the fruit helps any sweet cravings.

The kiddies and I have been picking fruit to enjoy....

and buying it too...oh how I wish I had a peach tree.

With most lunches I enjoy a bowl of Imagine Organic Creamy Butternut Squash's delicious, only 110 calories a cup and really helps fill me up. It also helps me to eat slowly and mindfully as it's difficult to eat soup quickly. With this lunch  I had a slice of 100% whole wheat bread with a quarter of an avocado spread over it, a little bit of salt and pepper and then one fried egg on top. Enjoyed with yet another large glass of water and I was completely full and satisfied. Sometimes I have an open faced tuna sandwich, or a salad with lots of veggie toppings and a little goat cheese and pumpkin seeds. It depends on how I've eaten the day before, I'm trying to keep things balanced...not too many starches on the same day...breads, rice, pasta etc...

Here are a couple examples of my dinners from the week:

I made Crockpot Chicken Thighs and while Chris and the kids had them in taco shells with cheese and sour cream, I had them over a mixed green salad topped with corn and red cabbage. I had it for lunch the next day too!

 My late planted garden is just starting to offer up delicious tomatoes and zucchinis and I'm beyond thrilled to be able to incorporate them into my cooking. Although I grew up with a big garden this is the first year I've had my own and have really worked to have it produce. There have been some ups and downs but that's a subject for another post.

Last night I picked two big tomatoes and two big zucchinis so it was the perfect time to make Naked Turkey Bruschetta Burgers.
I will admit I eyeballed the bruschetta measurements but boy did it turn out yummy (don't forget to add the mozza right before serving).

The grated zucchini goes right into the turkey patties and it makes it incredibly moist (something that can be difficult with turkey). This dish was a big winner.

I have quite a bit of zucchini leftover and will be making some zucchini bread with the kids today...stay tuned for that post!

I just realized I forgot to talk about what I've been eating for breakfast and it's been pretty simple, usually just a piece of 100% whole wheat bread with a Tblsp of peanut butter. That with the tea keeps me full until lunch time.

I've been walking 7km every evening and I really look forward to this time. I take a dog along with me, pop my earbuds in for music (I've actually been thinking of listening to books during this time...any recommendations?) and away I go. It's my me time and it's lovely.
I've also dusted off (literally) my Bowflex Sport and have been working my upper body. I've had some sore pectoral muscles for a few days but it feels great!

Overall I can't believe how much better I feel already. I never feel slow and sluggish during the day and I have way more patience. Speaking of patience, I thought this was interesting...after taking my kids and their friend blackberry picking we decided to go to Dairy Queen for a kids cone to cool off. I had a kids cone too thinking it was small and I've been doing really well. I was starving afterwards...I couldn't seem to fill up and I was really grumpy for the rest of day. I had no patience, kids playing and screaming seemed to go directly into my brain. That one little sugar (and who knows what else goes into DQ "ice cream") filled cone was my undoing. It is absolutely amazing how food effects you...that sugar made my cravings spike through the roof and all I wanted to do was eat. I'll stick to the fruit thanks.

I've been thinking of getting a Fitbit Flex to keep track of my steps and activity throughout the day. You actually wear the band 24/7 so it monitors your sleeping habits too, good information to have. Does anyone out there have one? What do you think of  it?

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

A Focus on What's in Season: Blackberries

I've been walking every night and the area that I've been walking in is loaded with blackberries. I've been sampling them a bit and now that they are perfectly plump, juicy and sweet...harvesting was in order. 

I grabbed a bucket and some willing blackberry pickers and we went to work. Well...I went to work, they had a second lunch.

Once I had taken my blackberry pickers swimming to cool off and then fed them dinner I went searching on Pinterest for a quick and easy blackberry cobbler recipe. I stumbled on the perfect one and it's low calorie too since it's mostly berries (big bonus!).

I doubled the recipe since the original is only enough for two and there was enough for five here. I used an 8 x 8 pan...placed a double layer of blackberries in it, and sprinkled them with vanilla (no water needed here..these berries were super juicy).

Mix together your dry ingredients..

Add your melted butter...don't do what I did and forget to double the butter and then have to drizzle it on halfway through baking. However, if you do that I'm here to let you know it'll work out just fine.

Mix your ingredients together with a fork and then finish with your hands to make these nice crumbles.

Spread the mixture over the berries and pop into a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes.

That's it, so easy!

I put a little ice cream on mine but you could easily eat it by itself. I can't even tell you how good this recipe is, I wish I could have invited you over to's that good.

What's your favourite blackberry recipe?