july challenge

11 Jul

in case you haven’t realized this by now, i kind of like food.

a lot.

i love making it, eating it, reading about it, experimenting, teaching people about it……


it’s funny…i often find myself having conversations with people that remind me that not everyone in my life is as passionate about food as i am. they go a little something like this:

me – “oh man! i’m so excited to eat my lunch today! i made a delicious sprouted quinoa salad last night…..sooooo good!”

human – “whats KEEN-WA?”


this happened this week when a colleague of mine said “what’s kale?”…………….i guess not everyone in the world cares as much about food as i do! yet i legitimately and innocently forget sometimes! but i am always reminded when people look at me strange when i tell them about the dehydrator i’m buying or the amazing blender i’m saving for or my new nut milk bag.

this month, my challenge is to take time for doing the things i love in the kitchen!


i look forward to sharing some photos with you!


may and june challenge: repost

11 Jul

dear friends: i had to delete the previous version of this post because something happened and it did not upload properly.


i have been on a bit of a blog hiatus. so here i am, attempting to squish two months into one post. do not be fooled: i have been keeping up with my challenges and am really excited to tell you about what i am doing for july!

may brought about some fun experiments. not only did i stop shampooing my hair for 6 weeks, i also made a slew of DIY products! my hair cleaning adventure did not last very long…..have you heard about the shampoo free method? you use 1 tbsp of baking soda to one cup of water for shampoo and 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar to one cup of water. i put both concoctions in spray bottles and kept them in the shower. they say that your hair will get use to not being shampooed, but mine totally didn’t. it was greasy. i did have good hair days, but the bad ones made me miss having nice clean hair. i probably won’t do that again!

i also found myself making my own deodorant, powdered laundry detergent, hand soap (fail!), fabric softner, and reusable dryer sheets. Except for the hand soap, I will definitely continue to make and use these!!!

homemade deodorant. i love this stuff!

laundry detergent – very little needed for each load!

ingredients for fabric softener and reusable dryer sheets

my june challenge was a yoga challenge. my brother and i took a class together which was so fun! i also kick started my challenge by going to a yoga retreat with my friend carly. we had a blast! (yoga photo cred goes to www.jodygoodwinphotography.com). i really enjoyed going to the yoga studio a few times a week. i always left feeling so refreshed and energized!

doing crazy yoga moves at the yoga retreat!

and just because i love sharing what i’m doing in my kitchen, here are a few photos of some delicious treats that came out of my kitchen in may:

one of my delicious kitchen creations – subbing quinoa for the conventional rice used in sushi

raw brownie, greek yogurt, sprinkled with carob powder and agave. delicious treat!

on a sidenote….my husband and i celebrated 5 years together on july 1st! i love this man!

on july 1st, my hubby and i celebrated 5 years together!

its name is laziness.

9 Apr

hello friends. it has been a month since my last post which means that i am again late to post my april challenge. i’m not going to lie, i really struggled to find something in time so i didn’t really solidify this until a couple days ago.

something that i often struggle with is laziness. i am often “too tired” to do really basic things whether it is for myself or around the house. i have, however, had so much more energy since i started working out a couple months ago, so i really don’t have any excuses to not ________________ (insert whatever thing i’m deciding to not do here).

how is it possible that i can’t find “time” or “energy” to put the dishes away, or pack my lunch for work, or sweep the kitchen floor, take my makeup off before bed or dust? quite simply………because i’m lazy.

it’s funny because i am actually a very motivated person but it seems to come in waves. i love being adventurous in the kitchen, but sometimes i would rather sit all day and veg than get things done around the house.  the thing is, though, that all of these things don’t take that much of a time commitment. it doesn’t take an hour to sweep the floor or clean the bathroom. but…yes you should do your dishes after baking up a storm instead of leaving it for the next day….

what i need is a swift kick in the butt, nike style……JUST DO IT. that sure sounds lame, but it really is true.  i need to stop making excuses and just do it. find the time to do the things that i want to. and if that means that i have less time to watch t.v before bed, or less time to hang out with friends during the week, so be it.

for the rest of the month, i am committing NOT to being superwoman and trying to do EVERYTHING, but rather catching myself in the moments when i’m saying “there isn’t enough time” or “i’m too tired”, to just take the fifteen minutes to do whatever it is that i need to do, and sacrificing whatever is on the more fun end of my decision.

so, there you go, that is what i will be focusing on for the month of april.

switching gears here……..

i have been doing some really fun stuff in the kitchen over the last month! Here is a glimpse into my kitchen!

my failed attempt at sprouting chia seeds. i used cheese cloth but because chia seeds turn into gel when they are soaked in water (they absorb 10x their weight in water!), it wouldn’t strain properly. might try this again with quinoa instead.

making crispy/chewy crackers as a topping to this delicious lemon tahini couscous salad – my “i can’t believe it will be summer soon” inspired salad.

making the most ridiculously delicious spicy/cheesy kale chips with cayenne and nutritional yeast. best. ever. ever. seriously.

making no-knead artisan bread in a dutch-oven. crusty on the outside, fresh and soft on the inside. it isn’t the prettiest loaf i’ve ever made but it sure tasted divine!

making my first batch of kombucha tea. this is a cultured tea that that you
can actually turn into a cold sweet fizzy tea. it looks disgusting. the first picture is of a kombucha “mother” – it has all the good bacteria in it to help make the tea. the third picture shows how another one is forming on the top, which i will be able to use again in the next batch. my mom has a raspberry bush in her yard so i plan to make raspberry and mango flavored tea. what a sweet treat for the summer!


march challenge

11 Mar

i have been incredibly busy – hence why i am writing this 11 days late!

work has been all over the place because they have me in core training (it is only offered once a year) – which has left me feeling behind at work because i’m not at my schools every day. i am, however, ridiculously excited because on wednesday i leave for QUEBEC for a week! i am going on this field-trip with one of my schools which has been paid for through a program with the YMCA. what an enormous blessing! years ago, i moved to montreal for a couple months to get some “life experience” and it is safe to say that my heart set up residence there. we will be visiting montreal only for the day on friday, but i can’t wait to go “home”! not to mention the fact that i will get to put to use my rusty french. it is all very exciting!

other than work at this trip, i have also been nursing a black eye.

a couple of weekends ago my husband and i went tobogganing and the conditions were less than ideal. we started going down the hill holding on to each other but got separated on the way down. the snow was so deep that i got stuck halfway down, and jared got stuck up the hill from me. when i started standing up to get myself going again, a group of four boys blew through me and took me out from my knees. THEN, my husband came flying down the hill after getting unstuck and smoked my face with his knee. i had the most enormous goose egg on my head. i went to the hospital, and left after they looked at me and determined i didn’t have a concussion. the situation could have been SO much worse than it was. but i have been left trying to hide my hideous bruised face for the last while. it is mostly faded now! just in time for my trip!

last month, i eluded to what my march challenge would be but was totally mean and made you wait. so…here it is:

for over a month now, i have been diligently going to the gym 3 days a week with both my husband and our friends, boe and carly. we meet at the gym at 6:15 am and get sweaty before work. it has been SO fun!

i don’t exactly have the best “working out” track record (ie: i start something and one week later i’m tired because i’ve taken on too much). but working out in the morning has been AMAZING. i also really struggle with mornings, so the fact that i have stuck with this for over a month (and that i haven’t made an excuse ONCE to not go since starting), shows that this is something i can stick to! it is so nice to have a workout partner (carly and i workout while boe and jared do their thing). and it is also INCREDIBLY nice to come home after work and not have to feel guilty about not working out or trying to find TIME after work to get ‘er done.

so, that is my challenge! and so far, so good! what are you doing this month?

clean, lean, ean, an, n

16 Feb

something funny has happened. while diligently eating 5 small (utterly clean and healthy) meals a day, i have started to lose myself in the process. while this statement may sound ambiguous, it is meant to be taken literally. my body is changing, getting more lean by the day. eating the right food is a very powerful thing!

i am finding that weekends are particularly difficult for me. it is easy enough to make my lunch and snacks for work during the week, but all hell breaks loose in the food department when i wake up on saturday. sleeping in, random plans – come the weekend, i’m always flying by the seat of my pants. i think part of this challenge for me has been learning to embrace the fact that i am not perfect and am allowed to make executive decisions about what i put into my mouth on the fly. even as i type this, though, i am realizing that i might just need to work on preparing myself for the weekend.

one of my favorite things to do so far is make my salad in a mason jar. by putting the dressing on the bottom, it keeps the greens from getting soggy, but allows you to make it ahead. salads and dressing can be so versatile!

so, i wanted to follow up on the great egg conundrum of 2012. i am very pleased to report that last night i think i finally perfected the hard boiled egg. the magic number for me is 12 minutes. another very magical tip i found was cracking the egg all over and then rolling it between your hands. it separates the membrane of the egg from the shell – and the shell practically falls off! it’s so easy! and a delicious snack!

i was also able to make my lovely mother some clean chocolate cupcakes for her birthday. they were delicious! unfortunately, i attempted to use them a few days later for a dessert night with some friends, but they were mouldy (which really isn’t a bad thing – clean food should go mouldy! next time i will put the cupcakes in the fridge. oops!)

all in all, things have been going GREAT. they are going so good that i may have inadvertently started my march challenge last week……but you will just have to wait to find out about it!

February Challenge Revealed!

1 Feb


my first digital drawing - a wrinkly looking apple! YUM!


i can’t believe a new month has already begun! last month flew by and gave me new hope that i am totally capable of doing anything for 30 days.

it’s funny, really, that i came home this evening with zero desire to watch t.v. – but i will admit that the fact that i can turn it on and not feel guilty about cheating is quite liberating. yesterday i smiled, giddily, as i removed, crumpled and threw away my “find something else to do” sign. FREEDOM AT LAST!


i’ll be honest….i’m still not feeling ready to release this next challenge into the world because i’m struggling to figure out how to make it something that i can achieve. i know what i want to do, but my biggest fear is that i will fail miserably. i’ll cut to the chase:


ACHIEVABLE CHALLENGE: i will practice the clean eating principles – eating 5-6 small meals per day, consuming plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, protein and healthy complex carbohydrates and practice eating healthy portion sizes. i will also be conscious of drinking  as much water as possible throughout the day.

SPECIFICS: eating sugary foods and processed crap will be kept to a minimum, but if there is a time when i want to, i will keep my portion very small.  when eating out, i will try to stick to these rules as closely as possible. 

i’m not sure if this is cheating or not, but i already started this challenge on monday (just seemed easier to start my week off eating good food at regular intervals rather than in the middle of the week). so far i’m finding it much easier to do this challenge when i’ve planned ahead. my evenings this week have consisted mostly of making dinner, making my lunch for the next day as well as making my breakfast for the next morning. so there it is, my first major lesson to making sure this challenge is manageable is preparation. i even went out a bought new water bottles to have stationed at both of my schools that i can fill with water and carry around with me, just to make my life easier.

i have already encountered my first challenge with this clean eating goal……my days get so busy and the time literally flies by. how am i going to make sure i don’t forget to have my snack at 10am? today i forgot to have my mid-morning snack until it was 11:30! oops! my thought at first was to set alarms on my phone, but i don’t always have my phone with me and if it goes off it might disturb someone. i also have an interval timer i use for working out that could be easily attached to my pants that would vibrate at whatever interval i set it to. it will just look a little dorky….but i think i’m willing to look dorky to make sure i accomplish this challenge!

my second challenge has been my epic failures at trying to make hard boiled eggs for lunches. i have cooked 7 EGGS over the last week that have not turned out. what a waste! i can’t seem to get it right…they are always undercooked.


what is your february challenge? i hope you’ll join me so you can make the best of february 2012!

january challenge – COMPLETE

30 Jan

if you haven’t been keeping up with my blog this month, here is a simple little synopsis to catch you up:

2012 = 12 months = 12 month-long challenges. if you want the detailed version, check this post.

in january i set out to stop watching mindless television. and i’m happy to report that this challenge was way easier than i had earlier anticipated. if i was getting graded, i would have probably earned an A+, and that, my friends, is about as good as it gets.

january had me taking more photos, knitting, cooking, baking, spending more time with family and housemates, better sleeps………(the list goes on…)

my husband just asked me if i plan to accumulate each month’s challenge into one new habit at a time. as i said in my last post, i really don’t see myself selling my t.v. anytime soon. this challenge has been good in that it has been, well, challenging. that being said, i really miss watching the food network. it is my go to channel. it is inspiring. i learn from watching it. i honestly feel like i have gone to cooking school because i have watched the food network for what, ten years now?

all that being said, i feel like i have found a bit of peace in just doing other things. i am no longer wandering around the house desperately trying to find something to entertain me or occupy my time. i feel like that is such a huge accomplishment for me. the t.v. will no longer be my babysitter. i am able to find something else to do.


for the past week i have been trying to figure what to do for my february challenge. i don’t mind doing random challenges, but i’m actually thinking that it might be nice to have each challenge somehow flow into the next. and now that i’m not watching so much t.v., there are so many possibilities!

i will leave it at that. i will be announcing my february challenge on wednesday, february 1st. will you join me?