Pinterest…

…is the best thing that has ever happened to me.  If you aren’t on, you better get yourself hooked up.  Recipe ideas.  DIY craft ideas.  Style ideas.  Kids ideas.  Decorating ideas.

As my nephew would say, do-di-dee-das.  (Good ideas.)

Thank you, cousin Paula for inviting me.  If you need an invite, comment on this and I’ll invite you to be a member and my friend.  After a screening test.  And, after you pay the dues.

http://pinterest.com/

Oh, and hey…Merry Christmas!

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Secret Is Out

So, I’ve been MIA for a while.  Of course, I was studying for my exam and then things got crazy busy with Christmas.  I could give you a whole lot o’ excuses – but the real reason: I haven’t been able to bake or cook.  I am pregnant and food has not been my friend.

This has been CRAZY for me.  It made me realize how much time I spend thinking about food.  Even if I have just eaten something, I’m thinking about what I’m going to eat next.  At work during the day, I used to dream about dinner.  I used to meal plan weeks in advance. Lately, it’s made me gag.  There are days where I can’t think of anything – not. one. single. thing. – that appeals to me.

I don’t even know myself anymore.

I don’t even want to eat Christmas cookies.  Sigh.

As I am approaching the second trimester, I’m hoping the end is near.  I don’t think I can nourish another being while consuming only slices of cucumber and Bacon Dippers.

Hope to back and functioning in the near future!

Health is Happiness – Week Four

Day 22 – Only Eat When You’re Hungry
Many Canadians use food as something other than fuel.  The next time you’re bored or depressed, don’t reach for comfort foods that are high in fat and low in nutrition – find something else to do, such as going for a walk or calling a friend. (Note: Don’t call me.  I probably won’t answer.)

Day 23 – Take a Walking Break at Work
Canada’s physical activity guidelines suggest that adults accumulate at least 150 minutes of physical activity every week – but that doesn’t mean you have to do it all at once.  In fact, introducing 10-minute bursts of activity into your daily work routine is a proven way to boost both productivity and job satisfaction.

Day 24 – Cut Down on the Caffeine
Caffeine, found in coffee, tea, soda and energy drinks, acts as a stimulant, giving your body what may feel like a boost of energy.  But that boost takes its toll on your nervous system, increasing anxiety and stress, while it diuretic properties can leave you dehydrated.  Try drinking water with a slice of citrus fruit before you reach for another cup of coffee.

Day 25 – Start a Health Journal
Keeping a written record can help hold you accountable for your overall health and serve as a powerful motivational tool.  Commit to tracking your calorie intake and how often you exercise.  Evaluate your results often and make plans for improvement.

Day 26 – Fill Up on Water
Waters helps regulate the body temperature, plays a role in your metabolism and helps your organs absorb nutrients.  is it any wonder you need at least eight cups a day to meet your body’s needs?

Day 27 – Pick Up a Jump Rope
Not only is skipping cheap and simple to do, but it offers a full body workout and can burn up to 1000 calories an hour.  jump your way to a great cardio workout while improving your condition, agility and endurance.

Day 28 – Work Out With a Friend
The YMCA has found that social support is positively associated with increased physical activity.  Use the buddy system to motivate, challenge and encourage each other – and have fun doing it.

Day 29 – Park Far Away From the Entrance
If you drive to work, see if you can squeeze in some exercise by switching your usual parking spot for one that’s farther away.  Even a 10-minute walk can help get your blood pumping.

Day 30 – Replace Juice With Fruit
Real fruit not only offers all the flavor and nutrition of juice (with added processed sugar), but it also offers more fibre and vitamins.

Source: Canadian Living

Health is Happiness – Week Three

Day 15 – Go Without Dessert
Change up your evening routine and try an after-dinner walk in lieu of dessert.  A single slice of apple pie, averaging 280 calories, could eat up 10 to 15 percent of your total recommended daily caloric intake.

Day 16 – Take 10,000 Steps
An inexpensive pedometer is a great wat to gauge your physical activity levels.  Participaction suggests setting a daily goal of 10,000 steps and a study published by Stats Canada earlier in the year showed that we’re not far off the mark: Canadian men accumulate and average of 9,500 steps per day and women walk an average of 8,400.

Day 17 – Fill the Fridge With Veggies
Keep two kinds of raw vegetables cut and washed in the fridge for quick snacks on the go.  The Dietitians of Canada say that having foods such as carrots, broccoli, cauliflower and celery handy will prevent you from reaching for high calorie snacks when you get hungry.

Day 18 – Laugh Out Loud!
A great way to nourish your mind and body is to give your sense of humour a workout.  Share a silly story, listen to a joke and learn to find the funny in situations that usually get you down.  Laughing can provide a powerful physical release that’s proven to relieve pain, lower blood pressure and improve your outlook.

Day 19 – Don’t Eat Before Bed
If you need to unwind at night with a bowl of ice cream, eat at least three hours before you hit the hay, or you run a greater risk of storing those calories as fat.  It’s important to eat the bulk of your calories while you’re most active.

Day 20 – Set a Smoking Quit Date
Within 48 hours of becoming smoke-free, your chances of having a heart attack start to decrease.  Within one year, your risk is cut in half.  Within 15 years, your risk is the same as someone who has never smoked.  Mark your planned quit date on the calendar and be sure to tell your friends and family.  Once you’ve set a goal and told people about it, you’ll be more likely to follow through.

Day 21 – Try the Y
Get active and try something new by checking out your local YMCA, YWCA, Boys and Girls Club or community centre to see what fitness programs it has to offer.

Source: Canadian Living

Break Time!

Dear Two-People-Who-Read-My-Blog (not counting my Mother),

Just wanted to let you all know that my posts will be less frequent, perhaps absent altogether in the next while. I’m a little busy trying to be Super Mom/Model Housewife/Career Woman/ Part-time student.  I can’t do everything…and it’s more important to have a child that has been bathed than a post about my latest kitchen masterpiece. I think.

Stay tuned. I hope to be back in full swing when the Bud turns 25.

E.

P.S. Also, I have to lose 10 pounds before I can start trying any new recipes.  All this cooking and baking has gone straight to my behind.

Health is Happiness – Week Two

Day 8 – Pack Lunch as a Family
Making your own lunch helps you avoid high-calorie convenience food.  The folks at Breakfast for Learning suggest reaching for whole grain bread instead of white when making sandwiches, and avoiding processed deli meats, which are high in sodium and contain chemical preservatives such as nitrates.

Day 9 – Make a Clean Sweep
Taking the time to organize one room in the house can help your heart and your mind! Not only is decluttering a great stress reliever, but doing 60 minutes of housework can burn up to 200 calories.  (UH, HELLO!  WHY DON’T I WEIGH 100 POUNDS?)

Day 10 – Walk and Talk
The next time you answer your mobile, stand up and get mobile!  According to the Heart and Stoke Foundation, even those who exercise regularly but still sit for long periods have a greater risk of heart disease, diabetes and obesity.  Simply standing and stretching your legs throughout the day can help you improve circulation and burn calories.

Day 11 – Ditch the Remote Control
Enjoying TV doesn’t have to mean becoming a couch potato.  The Canadian Obesity Network suggests adding some movement to your channel surfing by getting rid of the remote.  Even low-to-moderate activity like getting up to change the channel can help boost your metabolism.

Day 12 – Shop On A Full Stomach
You’re much more likely to cave to your cravings if you go to the grocery store hungry.  Before shopping, eat a satisfying protein-rich snack or meal that’s high in fibre to help you feel full longer.

Day 13 – Trade Your Entrée For An Appetizer
Portion sizes in restaurants are much larger now than they were 20 years ago, to the point where the average entrée packs a walloping 1,000 calories – nearly half of most people’s recommended daily allowance.  If you eat out this week, try swapping this calorie bomb for a simple appetizer, which is often hefty enough to satisfy hunger.

Day 14 – Add Weight To Your Walk
Fill a backpack with a few items (two or three cans of food, or a small bag of flour), put the pack on and take a 20 minute walk.  Lugging a heavier load helps you burn more calories, improves muscle strength and endurance, and provides a more rigorous cardiovascular workout.

Source: Canadian Living Magazine

Health Is Happiness – Week One

I have been receiving Canadian Living magazine to my house for a year now – I bought the subscription through one of those school fundraisers and thought it might be good for recipe ideas.  It’s alright – I’ve gotten a couple from it.  My subscription is up next month and I wasn’t considering renewing it – but of course the October issue arrives and it’s got some good content!

The One Month Makeover : thirty-one small life changes that add up to a big difference.

Almost every magazine you open has an article or a challenge similar to this one – but I often find the suggestions to be WAY too difficult and take far more effort than I am willing to give.  But this one –  I feel like most of these are totally doable!  Simple and easy.

I’ll post one week’s worth of ideas for the next 4 weeks – some I already follow, some I am going to try.  I’ve fallen into a bit of a funk with my eating and exercise habits – I need all the help I can get.

Day 1 – Try an Exotic Fruit
Shake up your grocery list and introduce your family to new fruit snacks, meal and desserts that are fun and exciting to eat.  Instead of oranges, try lichees, which are also a good source of vitamin C.   Peel a pomegranate instead of a banana, or pick  mangosteens instead of strawberries – they’re packed with antioxidants that can prevent you from getting sick.

Day 2 – Take Sugar Out of Coffee and Tea
According to the Dietitians of Canada, lowering the amount of sugar in your drinks is a great way to help balance your daily calorie count and help reduce your risk for diabetes.  Start by using just one teaspoon less in your daily coffee or tea.  Continue using less until you’ve ditched the sweet stuff altogether.  Once you get used to the taste, you’ll likely find you don’t miss the sugar at all. (Note: true fact.  I made this move a couple of years ago – it’s not as bad as you think.   Now the thought if sugar in my coffee totally grosses me out.)

Day 3 – Drink Less Alcohol
Excessive drinking has been linked to high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke.  The Dietitians of Canada suggest limiting yourself to one or two drinks per day with a weekly maximum of nine drinks for women and fourteen drinks for men.

Day 4 – Eat Slowly
Whether you eat at a snail’s pace or shovel it in, it takes about 20 minutes for our brains to register that we’re full, which explains why slow eaters tend to be satisfied with smaller portions.  Avoid eating when you’re on the go, when you’re sitting at your desk or when you’re in a high pressure environment, as these conditions can encourage you to eat too quickly.  Instead, sit back, relax and take time to enjoy your meal. (This – I need to work on.  I eat every meal and snack like I’m in a hotdog eating competition.)

Day 5 – Get Eight Hours of Sleep
A good night’s rest allows your body to produce reparative protein molecules, lowers blood pressure and decreases stress.  According to the Canadian Obesity Network, it also helps you maintain a healthy weight by regulating the hormones that control appetite.

Day 6 – Avoid Eating A Processed Breakfast
The most important meal of th day isn’t quite the healthy start it’s intended to be if it’s loaded with sugary processed cereals and refined flour.  Instead, opt for foods such as fibre-rich fruit, whole grain bread and rolled oats.

Day 7 – Take the Stairs
Many of us spend our day in sedentary positions, sitting at desks for long periods of time. Climbing a few stairs each day is a simple way to incorporate activity into your daily routine and contribute to your cardiovascular health.

UH, easy!

Source: Canadian Living Magazine

FUN and GREEN Halloween Idea!

Once I have more children, more stuff kicking around and some of my friends start having kids (AHEM – let’s go people), I think I would do this.  What a fabulous idea!

The Great Halloween Costume Swap

Recycle used costumes and your kids will get to create new outfits from previously worn pieces – all at no cost and in the comfort of your own home.

  • Host your party two weeks before Halloween, so parents still have time to gather last-minute costume accessories before the big night.
  • Invite at least 10 families, with children of varying ages, so that there are many costumes to choose from.
  • Have guests drop off costumes before the swap or bring them on the swap day.  If you don’t end up with a lot of costumes, consider limiting the number of pieces each family can take.  Donate any leftovers to your local secondhand store.
  • Choose a large room in your home and use low tables or the floor to organize the costumes in piles, so kids can easily look through them.  Consider separating multipiece costumes to encourage the kids to assemble their own creations.
  • Make the swap memorable by serving Halloween-themed snacks and drinks.

Taken from Canadian Living, created by Rebecca Brown creative director for bunchfamily.ca

Crunchy Pecan Granola

You were probably expecting a post about the amazing turkey that I cooked over the weekend. Wrong.  I don’t do turkey – for two reasons: (1) I don’t have to – my mother (or this year, Grandma) and C’s mother both host turkey dinners and (2)  It scares the crap out of me.  I have never cooked a turkey – or any big cut of meat, for that matter.  I am working up the courage to do it.
My contribution to the Thanksgiving feasts was a Broccoli and Cauliflower Casserole that is absolutely delicious.  I will post the recipe this week, if you’re lucky.

I made this for the first time a couple of weeks ago.  I burned it.  But, I’m eating it anyways with Liberte brand Vanilla Greek Yogurt – which is freakin’ delicious and totally makes up for the burnt taste.

In other news, I had to look up the difference between BURNED and BURNT.  It was confusing and it’s possible that I used them incorrectly.

In any case, you should be more careful than I was so as not to do the same thing.

Crunchy Pecan Granola

Ingredients

6 cups rolled oats (not instant)
1 cup pecans, halved (or another nut like almonds or walnuts)
1 cup flour
⅓ cups sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup oil
½ cup honey

Preparation Instructions

Preheat oven to 320F.Mix dry ingredients together. Whisk the oil and the honey together and add to the oat mixture.  Spread on a baking sheet (it’s helpful if it has raised edges) and bake for 35 minutes, stirring all the way down to the bottom of the pan a few times during baking. Bake longer for more crunch, but don’t let it burn!