Thursday, February 28, 2013

Currently: February

  • Current Book - Eat & Run by Scott Jurek
  • Current Drink - Fresh Vegetable & Fruit juice
  • Current Excitement - I have a beautiful new niece - my Baby Bro' is a Daddy!
  • Current fashion trend - How late am I to the bright jeans trend? Emerald Green - yes please!
  • Current Favorite Blog/Website - Netflix - we're finding so much great stuff and are only in our second month of subscription - streaming is working a charm - Love it!
  • Current Garden Item - a few fresh green spring shoots on the rose bushes
  • Current FoodPrana Organic Medjool Dates
  • Current Indulgence - 11% MF Greek Yogurt - oh my gosh its so good
  • Currently Pondering - why I find it so challenging to complete this list!! 
  • Current New Find - It's not that it's a new discovery - I knew about it, but the P90X DVDs are in the house 'new to us!'. It will be great to have some new workout DVDs
  • Current Outfit - Anything with a relaxed waistband...Nuff said.
  • Current Peeve - Meli keeps rooting in my study garbage bin to fetch out the toy stuffing that I threw away after she shredded her toy. And it keeps getting strewn across the floor. Over and over again. (But I can't help smirk at her face when I show it to her. She KNOWS she's done wrong!)
  • Current Triumph - Scoring door prizes worth more than entry fee at the Snowshoe race on the weekend - I won a very cozy DaKine toque to add to my collection
  • Current TV Show - House of Cards with Kevin Spacey on Netflix
  • Current Wish-List - These boots (I actually have a pair already in tan and they are the best, most comfy boots ever which I live in during the winter - and now I want the black ones!)
  • Currently Delaying - Starting my running training again

Friday, February 22, 2013

Homemade Granola

I seriously cannot believe it has taken me this long to make Granola at home. But the buzz at work is this Granola recipe. It seemed like we all went our separate ways on Friday and made this over the weekend. Come Monday the office was awash with tales of Granola making and the kitchen sink with empty granola bowls!

It's a keeper that's for sure. And despite me wanting to make Granola for literally the last 2 years NOW was obviously the right time - it's kind of fun at work when you all have a common interest to gossip about (like when you sit around the kitchen table at lunch talking about a TV show!!)

Ingredients & Directions
½ cup slivered almonds
1 cup pecans
½ cup whole almonds
½ cup pumpkin seeds
Mix all together on a baking sheet and toast @ 325°F for 6-8 minutes

In a large bowl mix together:
5 cups large oat flakes
½ cup unsalted sunflower seeds
1 cup long coconut
1/3 cup coconut sugar
2 ½ tsp cinnamon
Zest from 1 orange
Add the slivered almonds, pecans, whole almonds, and pumpkin seed mix

Mix 1/2 cup butter & 1/3 cup of honey
Pour over granola mix
Bake @325° F for 20 minutes on 2 large baking sheets

Then eat, and eat, and eat. Good with fresh milk, but actually I preferred just snacking on it dry - it gets in my mouth quicker that way!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Project Life 2013

I had a great time doing Project Life last year. It has transformed the way I scrapbook and for now, at least, I can't imagine doing it any other way. I absolutely love the ordinariness of it. I love that it captures our day to day lives, and not just the 'big' moments. I'm already enjoying flipping through the album and remembering...and some of the memories are only 6 weeks old!
Cover page
There was no question I'd be doing the same again this year. I did consider that it might be a bit 'samey' and I think at times it will be - but isn't that the perfect way to document the passage of time. That photo of the front of the house? - looks the same. But look closely and aren't those bushes and shrubs so much bigger and bushier than a year ago? The view from the deck? - wow - 5 more houses built in the last 12 months, and that same old picture of the bedside tables? - you can peek at the book I was reading at the time and that I had a cold because the cough medicine and a box of tissues is visible!

I picked the seafoam core kit to use this year. I love the neutral colour palette it has and the simplicity of the designs - I don't think theres a card design I don't like and won't use!
Weeks 2 & 3

Last year I confess to sometimes taking 3-4 hours on a 'simple' double page spread. And whilst I loved every minute of that time playing and being creative I think Chris would like a bit more quality together time! So I want to still have fun with the creative side but in an effort to keep it more simple and straight-forward to put together I'm trying to use more of the kit and less of my own papers. 5 weeks in, and that seems to be working. The other thing that is working for me is to keep completely up-to-date with it. That way if I have a spare 10 minutes in the evening I can pop into my craft room and cut up that receipt or tag I just got and pop it into a pocket. Or spend those few moments resizing some photos. So by the time I come to put the spread together on the weekend it's already half done! My weeks are running Monday to Sunday and I'm generally getting the pages together on Sunday or Monday night!
Week 5 & a Vizsla!

This year I'm sharing my layouts on Instagram - if you're on a computer you can find my feed here or if you're using the app on your phone my Instagram name is brit_chick...

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Menu Planning

Not sure where this last week went. Both hubby and I were still feeling slightly off par, so meals that were planned for last week were postponed and instead we rustled up freezer meals and stuff from the pantry to avoid the 'trauma' of grocery shopping (it's a trauma when you're feeling ill!!)
Anyway....3 of our meals got carried forward to this week. With our new CSA-style deliveries I've decided to switch our shopping day to late in the week and so too our Menu Planning week start. This week we shopped Thursday.
I went to Bulk Barn for the first time. On the way home from skiing Thursday we passed by and I dragged hubby in for a browse. Oh my, what a fun place!! Not so good with the organics range, but to be fair I haven't fully transitioned to that yet so still plenty of things I buy as a norm - baking power, goji berries, arborio rice, oats, xylitol plus organic dried peaches & quinoa. They also had a good range of supplements and super-foods and other stuff (Maca, Camu Camu, Cacao etc) What was dangerous was the discovery of a little, wee English shoppe section (because the cutesy in us all spells it with an E on the end for some inexplicable reason?!). But Ty-phoo teabags (decaf aswell no less!), Yorkie bars, Cadbury's twirls, Hob-nobs, Treacle pudding, pickled onions - actually NOTHING that is remotely healthy now I come to think of it!!) but a little shout-out to our motherland nevertheless!

Meal Plans for this week are fairly easy meals for us - I'm working longer hours for the next few weeks so I'm simplifying things as much as possible with familiar meals and meals that are Chris's speciality rather than mine!
My hubby blogged about Menu Planning benefits over on his new blog HERE. I then guest-posted for him with a follow-up article about HOW we meal plan here. Would love for you to go visit him/us over there with a little blog love! (he's a new blogger so be nice!!)

Once again I'm linking up with Laura & Jill for their Meal Planning challenge.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Menu Planning

I'm still winning with the Meal Planning. 
This week I've got one new-to-us recipe to try out - The Crockpot Morroccan chicken which I pinned from Shrinking Kitchen (always a great resource for recipes and even meal plans and shopping lists!)
In fact I obviously love the Shrinking Kitchen since the Taco Casserole recipe is another one of theirs - this was a total hit ever since I first made it! I always look forward to this meal! 
We've already started on this week so I made my Pasta Rucculo - it was inspired from our favourite Italian restaurant when we lived in Cyprus (Il Gusto in Akrotiri) It was a vegetarian dish but over the years I adapted it to one of our go-to favourites (I'd actually love to go back again now and see just what the original dish was like!!). It's fresh tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, green onions, a couple of rashes of smoked bacon and a little pesto all sauted up together. Once cooked add in your cooked whole wheat pasta, some argula and parmesan cheese and mix. These days I adapt to whatever we have in - this week I had a couple of pepperoni sticks instead of the bacon, and swiss chard and spinach instead of the argula - whatever the combo it's always delicious.

We've just started a new Organic Vegetable delivery service - this comes weekly on a Thursday so I might be having a re-think as to my shopping and meal planning day. I'm looking forward to getting a little out of out 'norm' and I'm purposely picking veggies that we're not so familiar with - This week we've got celeriac - any ideas for recipes anyone?
I'm linking up to Jill & Lauras Menu Planning challenge.

Friday, February 1, 2013

My First race of the year!

Last weekend Chris and I took part in the White Rabbit Snowshoe race. We did this event 2 years ago (last year of course I had to sit out because of my ankle sprain). It's such a fabulously organized event so I was happy to be back again at Crystal Mountain.

It's a super small event - 2011 there were around 30 participants and this year it was around 50. I've never taken part in anything this small, so maybe this is why I love it so much. It's so personal. At the end everyone huddles around for the prize ceremony (this in itself is unusual for me - I don't think I've ever stayed for a prize ceremony before, but at White Rabbit everybody does - it's part of the event!) And the organizers do an incredible job of collecting sponsorship - everyone gets a prize in the draw that has been generously donated by local businesses - Chris walked away with a $25 giftcard to our favourite local outdoor outfitter and I won a snowshoe tote which is particularly awesome since I didn't have one and it's super nifty!

Race entry is a mere $25, which includes a one-use lift pass to get to the top of the mountain for the start of the 5km race which we were doing. You could wear your warm stuff to the start and they provided stuff sacks, and a shuttle service to bring it back down the mountain for you to collect at the end! There was even a water stop along the route (that had ice crystals in it by the time we got to it!!), plus a few cameras snapping our progress - maybe we'll appear in some local newspaper or other - who knows?!

What I do find amazing is that despite a 5 minute ski lift ride to the 'top' of the mountain I still felt we did a fair amount of uphill in the first couple of kms - how is that even possible?!! The small pack of runners spread out really quickly - within the first few minutes we could see no-one in front of us, and just 3 or 4 behind us. Around the half way point a lady passed us, letting us know we were half way done - and after the initial start line shuffle she was the only one to pass us for the rest of the distance. After the half way point it really was all downhill so Chris and I picked up a fair pace. The last half a km it levelled out - and by that point I was so used to the gravity-assisted running that the flat felt like an uphill again - of course it wasn't but we were pretty spent by then. All that kept me going was the incentive from behind - a woman who had been on our heels the whole race - we'd gained a tiny bit of an advantage in the downhill but she was back in sight again - so we pushed on and crossed the finish line holding hands!! (we thanked her later for her motivational push - and it seems that we'd dragged her along just as much as she'd pushed us - isn't it fun when you get to chat to people like that after a race!?)

I was pretty pleased with my 5th place finish. What I was even more impressed with was beating my time from 2 years ago by 15 minutes!! This year we crossed the finish line in 47:44. Despite a distinct lack of training this winter I felt able to really push myself, and honestly I can't always say that. I often just settle into a comfort-zone and don't really push much beyond that - this race I felt a bit more like I did. I felt it later - maybe the little altitude and the crisp, cold air coursing through me but I was pretty wheezy and short of breath for the rest of the day - but still - I felt like I'd worked for it and not being able to breathe was just battle scars - right?! Seriously 15 minute improvement?!! Heck - yes!!
I'm not entirely sure if this really counts towards my first race for the 13in2013 challenge, but not to worry since I'm confident I've got plenty more eligible races in the coming 11 months! Looking forward to getting back out there and start training.....soon!
I'm linking up today to Jill's Fitness Friday blog link-up.
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