November 15, 2012

Thankful Thursday #2

Things I Am Thankful For...

Many times in our lives we go through things that cause us pain, sorrow and even leave us feeling hopeless. It's really important that we can reflect on the things that we are thankful for.

If there is one thing that I have learned in my own life is that by living with a life of gratitude it can change your entire outlook on your life and how you handle the things in your life.

There are many tough things that we go through over time, but if you can take a moment to stop and simply reflect on the blessings in your life I believe you will see just how blessed your life is!

I'm linking this post to Jessie's blog (Jessie Loves To Run),
the creative genius behind the Thankful Thursday concept.

Thanks for always being such a sweetheart, Jessie <3 xo
With that being said ... here are some reasons I am thankful.

1. My Son - for making me laugh and helping me realize my strength. For keeping me sane and ... for driving me crazy sometimes :) Children have their own special way of making you feel that you are “super special” to them, the smile that they can bring to your face when you are feeling blue and they look for nothing in return.

2. My son's father - one of my best friends. Thank you for being my friend and for helping me learn more about myself along the way.

3. My Nephews - Robbie, Christopher, Alejandro, Ryan, and Thomas - my little superheroes. It's amazing to see what a childs love can do to anyone at anytime.

4. My Brothers & Sisters - Rob, Kirsty, Jeana, Joan, Erin, Daniel, and Kara

for being 7 of the greatest people in my life!
Brothers and sisters can’t be beat .. best thing in the world!

5. Family Time  -  I love spending time with my family! It doesn't matter what we're doing, I love the feeling of being with family. Our time together is the most meaningful thing to me.

What are you thankful for today?

November 14, 2012

Mighty Minestrone Soup

Minestrone Soup has a lot of ingredients. While I'm not usually a huge fan of this sort of soup, this particular recipe is an exception. I've made it a several times, using a different concoction of ingredients each time I make it. "The Taste Tester" certainly loves it too and I think the effort of making it is worth it.

Be warned, this recipe serves about 8-10 so make sure you have enough people around to eat it; or freeze some for later :)

Mighty Minestrone Soup

3 TBSP Olive Oil
1 cup diced Onions
1 cup diced Leeks
1 cup diced Carrots
1 cup diced Celery
1 cup diced Turnip
1 cup Sweet Potato (or other potato)
10 cups Vegetable Broth or water

Heat olive oil in a large pot. Add onions and cook until soft. Add leeks, carrots, celery, turnip, and sweet potato (or potato). Cook until vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes.

Add vegetable broth. Bring to a boil. Then add:

3 bay leaves
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1/4 cup fresh basil, or 1 TBSP dried basil
1/2 tsp marjoram
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp thyme
1 tsp salt (or Herbamare)
1-2 cups cooked beans (red kidney beans, navy, pinto, lima, or your choice)
1 cup tomato sauce, tomato juice, or diced tomatoes

Cook soup for 15-20 minutes. Then add:

1 cup diced kale or broccoli

Cook 5 minutes longer. When ready, add:

juice of 1-3 lemons
1/2 cup diced parsley

For a richer soup, add:

1/2 cup of cooked brown rice or 1/2 cup cooked barley.

Soup is ready to serve!

Great with fresh baked bread, garlic toast, and a salad.

This minestrone soup recipe will keep refrigerated for 3 days, or freeze in heavy duty zipped bags or portion sized containers for 3 to 6 months if well sealed.

If you decide to make this soup, please be sure to let me know what you think!


What I Ate Wednesday #10

Hello lovelies!

I trust that you're all feeling fine on this wonderful Wednesday!

I took a few days away from blogging and haven't posted anything since Friday. Fortunately, my only excuse is that my blogging time had been eaten up by time spent with family, friends, and travelling. How beautiful is that!?

On this particular day, "The Taste Tester," my Mom, and I enjoyed a brisk walk through Cooper's Marsh Conservation Area - and it was brisk! It was a fabulous day for a brisk walk - frosty and fresh, but oh so beautiful - the perfect weather for circulation and to help get the system going. The sun started to peek through and I felt fantastic! Fall is in full spring!

When we returned home, I was ready to eat:

Cleansing Breakfast My first Green Juice of the day: celery + spinach + cucumber + arugula + dandelion leaves + 2 apples + lemon + ginger + mint.  I ate a nice Fruit Salad around 11am.  Fresh peaches, pear, banana, blueberries, and goji berries with sprinkles of fresh squeezed lemon and cinnamon. YUM! Lunch was warm broth (please refer to the kitty cat) and a Garden salad with Dill Cheeze from Simply Raw Express, which is OUT OF THIS WORLD!! Dinner was a nice, warm, rich Mighty Minestrone Soup with onions, leeks, carrot, celery, turnip, sweet potatoes, broccoli, kidney beans, and brown rice seasoned to perfection with bay leaves + garlic + fresh basil +marjoram + oregano + thyme + salt and pepper. OH YEAH! Dessert was 1/2 an Acai Berry Vega Sport Endurance bar. "The Taste Tester" also looooves these bars so naturally I split it with him. BEST PROTEIN BAR EVER!!

That's what I ate Wednesday :P
Visit Jenn's blog to see what other people ate.
I'm heading back to Jenn's blog RIGHT NOW - I seriously have to make her Sweet Potato Chickpea Burgers . They look fan-freakin-tastic!!

November 8, 2012

Thankful Thursday (Gratitude Link-Up)

Do you dedicate time daily to be thankful?

When I was first introduced to this link-up by fellow blogger Jessie (Jessie Loves To Run), I've been wanting to get involved. Being thankful and expressing gratitude is so important.

It is said that the first 17 seconds of any thought are the most powerful, and they create enough energy to start attracting what you are thinking of into your life.

Using the power of gratitude to create the life of our dreams often starts by being thankful for what we want to have as if we had already received it.

You can see the importance of being thankful when you realize that you can use thankful feelings to achieve what you desire.

It doesn't matter if I'm feeling depressed, angry, moody, jealous,or negative; it's never too late to start enjoying the many benefits of being thankful.

I Am Thankful For...My Son, James. With a pure heart of gold, he is loving and kind and he always tries to live right. Extraordinary in everything he does, he teaches me to live life in the present - it's his specialty. He helps me realize that my spirit is indestructible...and to always have fun!
I Am Thankful For...The Warm Sunshine that comes through my windows everyday. I used to live in a basement apartment that had no sunlight except through two tiny little windows. Waking up to no sunlight is depressing - you can never tell what time it is or what the weather is like.
I Am Thankful For...the Good Times. Yesterday was my son's 8th birthday and even though we didn't arrive back home until 10:30pm on a school night, we had a nice birthday celebration with his Dad's side of family (we will celebrate this weekend with my side). We ate dinner at the restaurant, had cake and opened gifts at Grandma and Grandpa's house, and went bowling with family and friends. 
I Am Thankful For...the Bad Times. If I look back at all the difficult moments of my life and appreciate what I got out of it: a lesson, a "tougher skin", even simply the experience, it helps me make better choices in the future.
I Am Thankful For...Being Thankful. It has the power of changing my mood almost instantly from a negative to a positive. Good feelings and positive energy arise when I notice myself acknowledging what I am grateful for. It helps me be in the present by noticing what I DO have and stopping to acknowledge it. This can be the company of a person, having food, or just being able to see, hear, taste, touch, and smell.
What are you thankful for?

November 6, 2012

Marvelous in My Monday #8

Hello marvelous Lovelies! Happy Monday!

"I Don't Like Mondays" is a song by the Boomtown Rats and was the #1 single in the UK for 4 weeks in 1979 (the year I was born). Source

Who would ever want to be in a band called the Boomtown Rats? No wonder they didn't like their Mondays!

"Manic Monday", sung by The Bangles, was written by Prince, under the pseudonym "Christopher", a character he played in the film Under the Cherry Moon.

Supposedly, Prince gave the song to The Bangles lead singer Susanna Hoffs, so that in return she would sleep with him. Source

Thankgoodness I'm not manic - and with a little help from one of my favourite blends, the ever-so-lovely Miss Katie, I Do Like Mondays!

Visit Katie at Healthy Diva Eats for even more marvelous-ness
Here's what I'm feeling marvelous about today:

1. Healthy Bites arrived in the mail today. I came home and discovered these marvelous little balls in my box. Sweetgoodness! Lindsay (Cotter Crunch) hosted a giveaway on her blog a few weeks ago and I WON!! A dozen Healthy Bites.

Lindsay is a certified Nutrition Manager and Fitness Consultant and her husband is a professional triathlete. In a quest to help her husband find healthy pre and post recovery snacks, she created Healthy Bites, all-natural, gluten-free, organic bite-sized balls of sweet goodness.

Lindsay sent me 5 different flavors of Healthy Bites: Apple Peach Raisin Cinnamon, Pineapple Ginger Marshmallow, Mint, Muddy Buddy, and Cookie Dough. This was a complete surprise because I thought I was only getting one flavor to try.

As soon as I saw the Pineapple Ginger Marshmallow bite, I thought "This is the one for me!" I love roasting/toasting marshmallows on a campfire but regular marshmallows are a no-no for me and Lindsay obviously uses an all-natural (I assume vegan) marshmallow alternative. I was surprised at how smooth this bite was to eat. No chunks, which I love! It has a perfect tropical pineapple flavor with just enough ginger kick. Love it!

My little "Taste Tester" wanted to try the Mint bite, which came as no surprise as he's a big fan of anything that combines mint with chocolate. As soon as he took his first bite, I watched his eyes roll into the back of his head with pleasure and delight. Ha! SOLD!

Healthy Bites are a winner in this house, no doubt. I can't wait for tomorrow so I can eat some more :)

2. I finally finished reading Catching Fire-the second book from the Hunger Games trilogy.

I didn't read the first book, "The Hunger Games", however, I DID watch the movie a few weeks ago and I’ll be the first to say that it is highly addictive. If you haven't seen it or read the books, I ghighly suggest checking it out.

You see, I’m a movie addict. I love stimulation. I love the art and craft of creating words into visuals. I crave the opportunity to lose myself in make-believe worlds. But, after watching The Hunger Games—despite the fact that the acting was excellent, my psyche and my soul couldn’t take anymore.

Yet, it was only a matter of time before I got over the shock from The Hunger Games. Then, I wanted more. I bought Catching Fire and reading it became my nighttime ritual for the last couple of weeks. Now that I've finished reading it, I MUST go to the bookstore to buy Mockingjay, the third and final installment of the trilogy.

3. Accent Vlog-My 1st Video EVER!

I found this on Jessie's Blog (Jessie Loves To Run)

The instructions are:

Say These Words: Aunt, Route, Wash, Oil, Theater, Iron, Salmon, Caramel, Fire, Water, Sure, Data, Ruin, Crayon, Toilet, New Orleans, Pecan, Both, Again, Probably, Spitting image, Alabama, Lawyer, Coupon, Mayonnaise, Syrup, Pajamas, Caught.


Answer These Questions:
What is it called when you throw toilet paper on a house?
What is the bug that when you touch it, it curls into a ball?
What is the bubbly carbonated drink called?
What do you call gym shoes?
What do you say to address a group of people?
What do you call the kind of spider that has an oval-shaped body and extremely long legs?
What do you call your grandparents?
What do you call the wheeled contraption in which you carry groceries at the supermarket?
What do you call it when rain falls while the sun is shining?
What is the thing you use to change the TV channel?

My little "Taste Tester" did an awesome job filming, right?! I couldn't have done this without him :)

Oh -and I forgot to mention that I'm a country girl from a tiny little town called Williamstown in Ontario, Canada. Williamstown is about an hour and a half outside of Ottawa Ontario (the capital of Canada).  Now, I live in Ottawa and I have been here for almost 10 years.

So...What do you think? Do I have an accent? I don't think I have an accent.
If you've done the accent vlog, let me know ok. I'd love to see it!
What was marvelous about your Monday?

November 2, 2012

Feel it Friday!

we hide because we want to be found,

we walk away to see who will follow,

we cry to see who will wipe away the tears,

and we let our hearts get broken to see who will come and fix them.