Tag Archives: Healthy Living Summit

Happy Hump Day 10/08/2011

10 Aug

Remember my Happy Hump Day post of a couple weeks back? Well, I liked the idea, and, given all the negative things going on in the news these days (markets crashing, troops getting killed, people rioting), I figure we can all use more excuses to smile, right? So in an effort to spread the joy, I plan to share with you things that have made me smile lately on most (if not all) Wednesdays. So here’s the list for this week.IMG_2469

Smile# 1: Pre-boiled beets. I know, I know, a little odd to be on this list, especially at the top. What can I say? I’m a nerdy locavore food blogger. But just stop and consider the happiness made possible by the convenience of having this gorgeous purple gems ready to go in your fridge. You can make this pizza in about 20 minutes.

IMG_2483Doesn’t strike your fancy? How about using the beets in a salad as part of this summer-licious salad, ready in under half an hour, perfect for those Sunday nights when you’ve got caught up in finishing the scrapbook for the trip you went on over two months ago. The gloriousness to your left is a salad of spinach, chopped mushrooms, red pepper, and onions, topped with loads of beets (minus the few chunks I ate…can’t help myself), balsamic vinaigrette and feta. Then of course you see beautiful, fresh, local sweet corn on the cob (delicious enough to be a Smile in and of itself), and a turkey sausage on a bun with mustard, sauerkraut and pickled red onions.

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Still not sold on the pre-boiled beets? Throw ‘em in an unconventional slaw, along with broccoli slaw mix, onion, a crunchy baby cucumber and some fennel. Make your dressing out of PC Blue Menu Tzatziki, Greek yogurt, white wine vinegar, salt and pepper. Thank you, pre-boiled beets, for making all of this deliciousness possible in relatively little time. All kidding aside though, I really did beets a lot more accessible if they’re pre-cooked and ready to rock.

Smile #2: An hour of FREE personal training. Yep, you read that right. My workout week got off to a great start Monday morning when, after my run and breakfast, I went to the gym for a 9 AM body sculpting class. The gym was pretty quiet, and I was the only one who showed up for class. The instructor offered me an hour of personal training, or we could still do the class…I went with the training. I told her I liked to focus on my upper body, and that’s exactly what we did! I was feelin’ the burn after in the best way. We chatted away while working my arms and abs, and before I knew it, the hour had flown by. Thanks Evelina!

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Smile # 3: The Month of August. It’s easy to get sad thinking about summer being over this time of year, but I refuse. Here’s why I love August:

  • it’s the month of my birth, and celebrations will be extended this year because it falls on the day I leave for Philly
  • speaking of Philly, I am going to HLS in only 8 days!Open-mouthed smileThis is my excited face…and I found out Monday that the opening night cocktail party is being held at a farmers’ market…SO COOL!
  • August brings the yummy produce you see above (peaches, plums and blueberries) and so much more, it makes eating so delicious
  • I’ve been able to re-connect with lots of friends this month due to time off from school, which also puts a smile on this girl’s face

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Smile# 4: Summer Sundays involving the things pictured at right. In this case, a cold drink (two Source creme caramel  yogurts blended with coffee, sugar-free caramel syrup and ice), a bowl of fresh local fruit, sunglasses, ipod with summer music playlist, sunglasses and Food Network Magazine. Not pictured, but also essential to the smiley face: lounge chair with comfy cushion and sun in the sky. Only thing that could have made it better? A little less sweat going on (TMI? Sorry.) and/or easy access to a pool. Oh well. You can’t have it all.

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Smile #5: (sort of related to #4) Local Peaches and Blueberries. They make such a delicious flavour combo, always remind me of my birthday (since both usually find their way into a birthday breakfast), and make healthy, delicious eating just SO easy. Peaches and blueberries have found their way into (among many other things)IMG_2405:

This decadently delicious peach blueberry cobbler (crisp if you want to be culinarily correct, but always a cobbler in my family) at my long weekend BBQ Fiesta.

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This beautiful breakfast (many times over, this was just one of the prettier ones), atop a breakfast thin (digging the cinnamon raisin ones I got State-side) with sweetened vanilla light ricotta. Looks like some blackberries tagged along here, with cherries on the side, and either an iced coffee or cafe mocha to drink, depending on my mood (speaking of iced coffee, I feel like I should own shares in Almond Breeze. I am tearing through that stuff!).IMG_2495

A new twist on the bubbling berry biscuit bake. This time, used brown sugar twin and added sprinkles of cinnamon and nutmeg to my fruit – peaches, blueberries and two little plums. I also used regular skim milk, not buttermilk (didn’t have any that needed to be used up). Don’t worry, I did everything else the same – right down to the vanilla ice cream and mint on top. Winking smileIMG_2494

Smile # 6: Make your own Peanut Butter Magic Shell. Check out the link from the wannabechef. I haven’t tried it yet, but doesn’t it look so fun, so good, and like it contains so many less ingredients than any other “shell” ice cream topping out there?! And I LOVE the idea of pairing it with banana soft serve. If you try it, let me know!

So, in an even greater effort to spread the happiness around, I will close every happy hump day post by asking you to share something that has made you smile lately (you can have more than one thing, you know). What has made you Smile lately?

Life is funny…

5 Aug

If you’re like me before I started my own blog, you read other people’s blogs, and hear them talk about how much blogging has changed your life, and think things like “oh sure,” “that’s nice,” “sounds good.” But when you start your own blog, you get it.HLS badge

Take for example, my upcoming trip to the Healthy Living Summit (which I am SO excited about by the way…in 2 weeks I will be there)! I went out on a limb, asked 2 bloggers I didn’t know to go with me, and was all set to go with Donna. I met up with her in person a couple times, and now have a blog buddy who lives just over a half hour away…sweet!

But….long story short, passport issues forced Donna to cancel her trip! Sad smile While this was (and is) a MAJOR bummer, I have found someone else to make the trip with me. It’s crazy how this blog has put me in touch with people from my past. All my posts publicize on facebook, so I never know who reads. Well, Katie, my best friend from childhood/early high school, who I have been mostly out of touch with for several years and is now a dietician, has become quite  the avid reader. She had left comments on the blog a couple of times, so I contacted her to see if she wanted to catch up and go out for dinner – right around the same time the Donna drama was going down (Donna, love ya girl and DO NOT in any way think you’re a drama queen…it just sounds fun to say).

I went out on a limb AGAIN and asked my friend Katie to go with me, and after consideration, she said yes! So I have a HLS partner in crime once again! And she even liked my new idea to stop in Hershey, Pennsylvania on the way back (yes, I know it’s sort of ironic to stop in Chocolatetown USA on the way back from the Healthy Living Summit).

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Katie and I still got together for dinner this week. We went to one of my FAVOURITE local restaurants (okay, we don’t have all that many to choose from), The Blue Elephant. It is a restaurant the specializes in Thai food and pub fare. Another thing I LOVE about the Blue Elephant is they really make an effort to feature local produce, and have a different featured local menu each month.

Now, you wouldn’t expect a restaurant specializing in pub fare and Thai food to have a lot of healthy choices, would you? But surprisingly, the Blue Elephant does. I went with my standard – lunch in a bowl (even though it was supper. For lunch I get the half order ‘cause it’s HUGE). For lunch in a bowl, you choose your meat – chicken or pork. You choose your starch – noodles or rice. And you choose your level of spiciness. I went with what I almost do – chicken, noodles, medium. It’s just a BIG bowl of soup, seasoned with Thai spices, the meat and starch and LOADS of veggies. A total healthy eating SCORE for restaurant fare, if you ask me. It was delicious as usual.

Speaking of Donna, everyone’s favourite Happy Blonde, she nominated me for the blogger fun that is “7 links” earlier this week. If you, like me, don’t know what that is, here are the goal and the rules:

The Goal:

To unite bloggers (from all sectors) in a joint endeavour to share lessons learned and create a bank of old, but not forgotten, blog posts that deserve to see the light of day again.

The Rules:

1. Blogger is nominated to participate.
2. Blogger publishes his/her 7 links–1 link for each category.
3. Blogger nominates 5 more bloggers to participate.

So, here goes!

Most Beautiful

Oh Happy Day! Ok, so compared to a lot of the tear-jerking, emotional posts out there, this might not be at the top. But it does tell the story of why I ran a marathon, and shares the joy of new growth in the garden, so those things are beautiful to me.

Most Popular

Q and As for Summer This was the day my stats went through the roof. While I’d like to say it was all because of me, a very large part of it was that this was the day I was featured in my local paper…yeah, that might have been why. Still a good post though!

Most Controversial

I don’t consider myself highly controversial, but I would say my recent post In a Funk generated a lot of buzz (thank you once again to all of you who commented/facebooked or emailed positive feedback, it meant a lot). It was controversial to me, because I wasn’t sure if it was a good idea to get that real or raw about issues I was facing, but I decided it was worth it in my efforts to “keep it real” (hopefully it was).

Most Helpful

My Favourite Things: Winter Fruits and Veggies Edition. Sorry, I know it’s not in season right now (but don’t forget this one come December!). But this is where I first told you all about my love for kale chips (and several of you have since told me you’ve tried them). I also shared a lot of my favourite ways to use ingredients I love but that might not be so familiar to you all. I love doing these favourite things posts (I should get on that soon!).

Post who’s success surprised you

I fit a whole state in the oven, the post where I showed you step-by-step when I made baked Alaska. I was just surprised at how many hits it got, especially since it isn’t really a “typical” healthy food (although you can make it with low fat cake and frozen yogurt and it’s not too bad). I guess you all just enjoyed looking and the process and results?!

Post that did not get the attention it deserved

I echo Donna’s sentiments on this one – I’m happy with any attention I get and truly enjoy writing all my posts, despite the numbers. However, I posted this one on Favourite Things: Healthy but not-so-whole foods on Canada Day (and if you were out celebrating our great nation, I bear no grudge that you weren’t inside reading my blog), so it didn’t get as many views, and I feel like it’s a really interesting topic that I would love to hear more feedback on.

Post you are most proud of

The Wynn Workout This is when I was on vacation and made the best of a bad situation and created my own KILLER workout consisting of running hotel stairs, body weight resistance exercises and swimming. I felt pretty hard core, and was proud of myself for McGuiver-ing up a workout. I am also proud of this post, because it showed me working up a sweat AND indulging in a major way on vacation – pretty much my constant battle (minus the vacation part).

Now for the nominations (drumroll, please!):

Errign’s Adventures

Read Eat Sweat

The Sometimes Healthy Living Blog

I’m not quite following the rules because a) I’m a rebel (but you already knew that), b)it’s quite late as I type this and c) several of my favourite blog buddies have already been nominated.

It took a bit of effort to dig those up, but it was fun – hope you enjoy reading them! Happy Friday friends!

Question: If you are a blogger, what crazy connection has blogging made in your life? If not, how have you re-connected with someone from your past in an unexpected way?

Sorry….salads!

26 Jul

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Just to clarify the title, these are not sorry salads, as in, salads that have seen better days. More like, sorry…I’m posting salads AGAIN! But it’s hot, it’s summer, and this really is what I’m eating these days. So if you’re a salad hater like my cousin Jonathan, my apologies.

But before I give you the down-low on my latest salad sensations, some exciting news: I WAS FEATURED IN MY LOCAL PAPER YESTERDAY! Check out the article here. I called the paper to tell them about my blog and upcoming trip to the Healthy Living Summit, and to see if they wanted to write an article about me…turns out they did! As a Canadian blogger in a small town, there are many strikes against me when trying to promote HHH, but there are also benefits (ie, if I call up the paper, I get an interview and an article. Also, my stats jumped way up yesterday, so I guess even the smallest media feature helps. And if you are a new reader who found me via the Reformer, welcome!

Now, back to your regularly scheduled salads.IMG_2285 When I tell you the main ingredients of my Sunday lunch salad, it’s going to sound sort of like a weird casserole your hippy-Aunt would make.

  • kale
  • beets
  • quinoa
  • spinach
  • zucchini
  • portabella mushroom

….see? But it’s really good, I promise! This was my first time eating raw kale, and I wasn’t sure I’d like it, but it was actually pretty good. I mixed the kale with arugula and spinach for my IMG_2286greens, and tossed in some beans and peas from the garden as well. Then, I grilled a slice of zucchini, Vidalia onion and a portabella mushroom cap; sliced them up and tossed them in. I topped it all off with a cup of cooked, sliced beets (I pre-boiled and chilled them so they’d be at the ready when I needed ‘em), half a cup of leftover, cooked quinoa, fresh thyme and basil, and feta cheese. My dressing was made up of fancy cranberry wine vinegar, grainy mustard, oil and fat-free Italian salad dressing.

Oh. Wow. This salad was seriously yummy, and not in a weirdo healthy way at all. I love beets, and the sweetness of them and the cranberry vinegar in the dressing worked perfectly with the saltiness of the feta. The mix of grilled and fresh veggies provided a nice mix of textures as well. Mmmmm! And, as seen in the last close-up, one thing I love about beets is how they colour everything around them – I think it’s just so purdy.

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Salad number two is another grilled veggie wonder – grilled corn and zucchini, tossed with fresh spinach, onion, cucumber, red pepper, tomato and a bit of broccoli slaw. I put a bit of ham and feta in the mix, along with fresh dill, salsa, red wine vinegar and fat-free Italian dressing. Another winner! This salad was nice and light, and was the perfect pre-pool party lunch for Friday when I knew I’d be nibbling all afternoon.

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This is not a very good photo (I only have two hands, and I don’t have my own personal photographer), but I am attempting to show you a little trick I learned from Rachael Ray: when stripping corn off the cob, stand the corn up inside your bowl vertically, and run your knife down the cob – then all your kernels will end up in the bowl!

This may seem like a lot of salads, but starting today, it won’t be like that the rest of the week. I’ve got two lunches out planned (thanks groupon and wagjag), a BBQ/dinner planned with family and some friends visiting from BC, a potential girls’ pool party (rescheduled from last weekend), and we’re hosting two BBQs on the long weekend….so wish me luck! This is going to be one of those weeks when the 20% of the 80/20 rule won’t be enough for all of the splurging I want to do!

Do you like eating salad all summer, or do you get sick of it?