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Category Archives: Food

Microwave Fail and Big Sur Half Marathon

This weekend I participated in the Big Sur Half Marathon in Monterey, California. Let me tell you… this is got to be the most beautiful race out there. It starts by running through the historic city and then hugs the beautiful California coastline for several miles. There were about 7000 runners which is the largest run I have ever been a part of. It was a great time. I was slightly disappointed with my time as it wasn’t as fast as I normally do, but hey, I did it! I am proud of that.

When I started running years ago I always assumed “one day I will do a marathon”. Isn’t that what all runners eventually do? After doing 6 half marathons, I still don’t have a big urge to do a marathon. Once in a while I debate it with myself, but it never goes further than that. Whenever I am finishing running a half marathon the same thought always crosses my mind “There’s NO way I could do double the distance I just did”. I have so much respect for all of you out there who have completed a marathon. A lot of respect. Me on the other hand, I am happy and proud to say I have done 6 halfs. I don’t think I will ever push to do a full marathon, and I am OK with that! I have done more than many people have ever attempted, and I need to be proud of myself for that.

Now that this race is done I am back to doing p90x. Today I had a nice yoga day which was perfect since I am still sore from Sunday.

Leif and I got one of the most useful kitchen tool as a wedding gift. Let me introduce you to the grill basket:

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It is made to use over the BBQ but can also be used in the oven with a cookie sheet underneath to catch anything that falls through.

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We have been cooking some amaaaazing veggies in here. My mouth waters thinking about it.

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I add in whatever fresh or frozen veggies we have. My two favorite ingredients are:

  • mushrooms – I looove cooked mushrooms. On the other hand, I really dislike fresh mushrooms.
  • Pineapple – OK I know it isn’t a veggie, but mixing pineapple in any veggie stir fry, grill or pizza (my fav) is the secret ingredient to pure bliss.

I add a bit of olive oil and whatever spices and peppers I grab before it flies into the oven.

Done and done!

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There was a little microwave mishap in the kitchen the other day. We were warming up leftover chili and it somehow got put in a couple minutes too long. Note to self – watch the microwave like a hawk unless you want a bit cleaning task on your to-do list.

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Leif and I looked at what happened and both just laughed and laughed.

When he went to work I took on the cleaning task. Don’t worry, it was cleaned. I even left him a little note to surprise him (slash remind him of the hard work I did)

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Off to watch some Glee and hit the hay.

Hand Made Knit Christmas Stocking

Don’t you love it when you make a big batch of food and freeze the leftovers? At the time you don’t think much of it, but when you are hungry, hunting through the fridge/freezer and discover what you have, it is a good day!

We had leftover vegetarian chili for lunch. It’s one of my go-to recipes. It’s so easy, quick and always a favorite with others. I just throw in whatever vegetables I have, diced tomatoes, chili sauce and some secret spices. Recipe to come in the near future (although I don’t even use a recipe anymore).

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It’s by far my favorite thing to eat on a chilly day (no pun intended). Yes folks, it does get cold in California. I didn’t believe it either until I moved here.

I am loving our new Ball jars for our food supplies. I can’t wait to buy some more. I have many jars to be filled.

Cranberries..

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One of my favorite things to do is make things. Since it is Leif and I’s first Christmas being married, I wanted to make something special for us to put out every year. I love to knit and we don’t have any stockings to hang on our fireplace, so I put two and two together, and this is what I made..

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Ta da!

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But this one was getting a little lonely by itself

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So I made another to keep it one company…

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Leif insisted I make mine a little smaller than his and that it would look “cute”. I am very type-A and like everything to be even, equal and straight/narrow, but I made it the way he wanted.

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I’m still not sure if I agree, but it will grow on me. If not I can fix it.

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Perhaps he wanted his bigger thinking it would be filled with more gifts? 🙂

Have you ever made anything hand made for the holidays? Do tell as I am looking for more ideas!

Breakfast Of Champions

Today was another great day. We were up very early for a short run. I am doing the Big Sur half marathon Sunday so this was a nice taper week before the big event. This will be my 6th half. I don’t really have a time goal for this race. I always do try to beat my PB (which is 1:48 that I did my very first half marathon) but this time my goal is a little different. Every time I do a half I end up starting off too fast and lose my steam towards the end. This time my goal is to stick to my pace from the very beginning.

We started doing p90x but I am putting that on hold for the next couple of days so that I am rested up for my race. One of my favorite dvds so far is the Yoga.

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I have done many Pilates classes in the last few years but haven’t done a whole lot of yoga. Leif even enjoyed it (so he says). We bought some yoga mats which come in handy for the Yoga day as well as the Ab Ripper portion.

I came home with these two mats and let Leif choose his color 🙂

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About Ab Ripper… my nemesis. It is intense and hard, but I do know it is working me! My abs have never been so sore as they were the first few days.

For breakfast I eat oatmeal 95% of the time. I never let it get boring though because I have a variety of “toppings” to add to it. I make my oatmeal with almond milk which gives it a sweet smooth taste.

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Today I added…

  • pecans
  • almond butter
  • cranberries
  • chia seeds

There’s never a dull day with oatmeal, I tell ya!

I also had a grapefruit that had been sitting in the fridge crying to be eaten. Today I decided to take it out of it’s misery.

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It was a little sour but I try not to add any sugar to it. Sometimes I will add a little honey or agave if I am not feeling the sourness.

I’ve slowly been unpacking our Christmas ornaments. We love the smell of real Christmas trees so we always put up a real one.

Fact: When I was young I was allergic to real Christmas trees (the smell) and our family had to get an artificial tree. Luckily I have outgrown that.

Since we don’t have our tree and we don’t have tons of decorations accumulated yet, I put our tree ornaments around the living room to spice it up a bit until the tree arrives. I bought these last year at Hallmark for Leif and I. When I saw them I couldn’t leave without buying them… they are so cute and festive! “At Christmas and always, love bring special meaning to our lives”.

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One reason I started decorating early is because we are traveling home to Canada for a few weeks for the holidays. I wanted to make the best of it here early on before we leave.

How soon do you start decorating? What are your favorite decorations?

Quiet Nights in are #1

Tonight Leif and I had a quiet movie night in. We were busy all day getting lots of errands and work done so it was a well deserved relaxing night. Leif cooked fajitas for supper which were amazing. He has chicken fajitas and I had veggie fajitas.

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We stir fried the veggies with lots of spices, served over a whole wheat wrap and topped with cheese, greek yogurt (instead of sour cream. This was the first time I’ve tried it and it is a great subsitute!) and believe it or not there is some salsa in there too.

A beer is a must for nights like this. We have been putting limes in any/all of our drinks lately and it gives them a nice zesty taste. Even “lime” flavored beer tastes better with our own slice.

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We opened a NetFlix account a month ago so we have been watching an abundance of movies lately. We watched the movie Say Anything with John Cusack. It’s an 80’s classic. I was a fan and thought it was a funny/quirky movie, except we had to miss a few scenes because the disk was scratched. We still got the jist of it. We are also on a Glee kick after getting Netflix. We are almost done season 1 and still going strong.

Last time I was shopping I came across these coffee samples.

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I have to admit, I am not a very good coffee maker. I am also a huge tea fan and feel like I am cheating on my true love when I switch to coffee. I don’t LOVE coffee, but I do like to sip it on cold days to give me a pick me up. The French Vanilla flavor was sweet and had a nice kick to it. I have yet to try Cinnamon but I have no doubt I’ll like it.

Leif came home from work, after working all night with a little surprise..

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A picture I had drawn for Leif for our first Christmas together. It’s of his favorite modern looking house close to where he grew up.

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It made me smile from ear to ear and was very thoughtful! I love little surprises like that. When we were doing long distance he ordered flowers and had them delivered to my classroom not once, but twice!  Long distance was not easy, but things like this made it worth it. I wouldn’t trade it for the world as it worked out for us and we are now happily married.

The first time was for Valentine’s Day. My principal showed up at my door in the middle of a math lesson with a box in hand. My face was as RED these roses.. I get embarassed easily. My kids were so curious!

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The second surprise came on my last day of the school year. This was also my last day at that school and school board. I had already decided to give up my contract at the end of the year so that I could move to California where Leif was already living.

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All the ladies I worked with were a little jealous and wondered how I got such a gem.

Off to do some work and get to bed early! Busy weekend ahead.

Last Long Run Before the BIG (Sur) Half

Today I almost feel as if I am finished training for my upcoming half marathon. I am running the Big Sur Half Marathon on November 14th. I know, I know.. I still have two weeks to go, but this was my last big hurdle in my training schedule. I am welcoming this taper week with open arms.

Leif and I got up early and drove out to Monterey to do this run. There are beautiful trails along the ocean so we make a point to doing some long runs out there when we have the extra time to drive there. It is by far my favorite running spot. The race route is all along the coast. The views make the running much less painful. Here’s the route mapped out from the official race site.

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What could be better than this?

It’s stunning and there are always so many other runners and cyclists out and about. There’s something motivating about seeing other people out exercising with you. Agreed?

One of my To-Dos while we are living in California for the next couple of years is to run a half marathon here. This will be my 6th half, but all the others were back in my hometown in Canada. Let’s just say I am excited! After that is over I have some non-running fitness plans up my sleeve. It is always nice to switch it up every so often.

The other great part about the day was going to Whole Foods for the first time. I knew there was a store in Monterey but had yet to find it since I moved here. I had been to Trader Joe’s quite a few times, which I also love. I told Leif if he got me gift certificates to these places for Christmas I’d be a happy girl.

I bought some sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, couscous spelt flour, chilli sauce and crackers.

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I can’t wait to cook some new recipes I’ve found that were just waiting on these key ingredients.

Have a great weekend!

Love In a Bowl

 

I had a wonderful weekend off with Leif. He works shift work and only has every second weekend off. I guess you can say the weekends we are off together are extra special as they aren’t as frequent as most people would have. We live in California, where most would assume it’s summer year round. That’s not the case. It’s finally starting to feel like Fall. This time of year is one of my favorites back in Canada. The anticipation of the first snow fall makes my toes tingle. I am one of the crazy ones who loves snow and the winter.

Today I was in the mood for some warm, cozy food. I had a butternut squash patiently waiting in my kitchen to be gobbled up, and today was the day. I made Meghann’s Butternut Squash and Apple Soup from Meals and Miles. I followed the same recipe she used.  Let me tell you… it was delicious. Our home smelled like warm apple pie all afternoon while it was cooking. Leif gave it two thumbs up and I will definitely be adding it to my recipe vault.

You will need:

  • 1 butternut squash
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 2 large apples
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cup vegetable broth
  • 2 tbsp corn starch
  • garlic (add as much or as little as you like, depending on preference)
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp parsley
  • pepper

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Not gonna lie… I avoided squash in the grocery store for years because I had no idea what to do with it. It is a challenge to get it peeled and cut, but SO worth it.

Peel and cut the squash.

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Chop the apples. Cutting the softer apples after dealing with the squash was such a treat! I felt like I had a super knife slicing and dicing through these red ones so easily.

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Mix apples and squash in pot and set to low heat while you prepare other ingredients.

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Chop 1/2 onion. Add to pot.

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Add all remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil and then set to low heat. Let ingredients soften for 1.5 hours.

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Blend baby!

You can also use a hand blender if you have one. Much easier than transporting everything in the blender and then back in the pot.

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Put back on low heat until you are ready to eat.

ENJOY!

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This bowl did not stay half full very long. Looking forward to leftovers tomorrow. It had a nice sweet taste from the apples but a hearty warm feeling from the squash.

Thanks Meghann for posting this recipe! It was a delight.

 

When Leif and I were doing long distance from California to Eastern Canada, we had to find ways to make it exciting. So we traveled. A lot. We met in different cities for long weekends and did as many visits to see each other as our credit cards could handle. We met in New York City for Easter weekend when I was still teaching in Canada. On our last full day in the city it was particularly cold. We had to make many pit stops to thaw as we walked around the city all day. One stop was Starbucks for a hot drink. This was written on my cup and it’s been one of my favorite quotes. It makes me think, and smile, whenever I read it. To see my quotes page click here.

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There is a subtle difference between a mission and a promise. A mission is something you strive to accomplish – a promise is something you are compelled to keep. One is individual, the other is shared. When a mission and a promise are the same… that’s when mountains are moved and races are won.
– Hala Moddelmog.

 

Where is one of the best places you’ve found a favorite quote displayed?

Chocolate A La Dark

 

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After following a variety of amazing blogs in the past year and humming and hawing about starting my own, the time has finally come! How do you start your very first “this-is-it” blog post? How about with one of most people’s favorite things.. whether they will admit it or not… Chocolate *drool*

I know dark chocolate is all the rave and supposed to be much better for you than the regular melt in your mouth stuff. In the past I had never been all that fond of it when I would give it a try. While out shopping today I came across this Lindt Intense Mint dark chocolate.

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I absolutely LOVE anything mint flavored.

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It actually tasted pretty good and it was satisfying. I would buy it again. I feel that with dark chocolate it will last longer because you don’t need to eat the whole bar and a piece or two satisfies.

Thoughts on dark chocolate? Yay or Nay?