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A Comforting Meal + Wedding Flowers!

December 10, 2010

I don’t know who pissed off Mother Nature this week but boy has she been in a mood! 

Thankfully we didn’t see the snow here like they did around London, ON (I believe they got about a meter and a half this week!) but we definitely got the cold.  On my way home from the farm last night, the thermometer on my car showed -15!!!!! (that’s 5 deg F)

Speaking of the farm, I’ve had some troubles with Chelsea over the past week starting with me falling off last Thursday. She gets a mega attitude when the weather turns cold and we seem to go through the same thing every year.  I just exercised her from the ground Saturday and then again Monday night. Tuesday I found my little butt back in that cold saddle for a long 45 minute non-stop ride.  It was about -10 outside yet I was soaked after that ride! Last night I had plans to ride again, but when I arrived to the -15 temps up at the farm, there was no way I was going to try. The cold was BITTER! When it’s bitter like that, I find it hard to breathe when riding and figure that can only mean it probably isn’t super easy on Chelsea anyway. So it was a ‘let’s make up’ grooming session which ended in my giving Chelsea her blanket to help stay warm. I hadn’t given her a blanket yet as her punishment for being mean to me and tossing me (and trust me, that’s definitely a punishment for her). She was really nice and cuddly with me last night though so I couldn’t help but forgive her and make her all warm and snuggly. Here’s hoping she remembers how good she feels now with a blanket and behaves when I go do ride tomorrow! 😉

Even though I was only in the barn for about 20 minutes last night, by the time I got home, my entire body was frozen! I needed something warm and comforting for supper to help warm me up so I thought why not some sort of casserole?

This baby ended up being enough for supper last night, for C’s lunch today, and for supper tonight. Score!

What’s inside?

The Sauce

  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 a white onion
  • 1 C sliced mushrooms
  • 1 can of crushed tomatoes
  • a few sprinkles of basil

The Rest

  • small pasta shells
  • 1 can of white kidney beans
  • 1 can of tuna
  • big handful of baby spinach
  • 1/3 C shredded old cheddar

I mixed everything together and then topped with a little more of the old cheddar and some bread crumbs. Baked at 400 Degrees for 20 minutes.

Yum!!

I love it when I throw a bunch of things together randomly and it turns out to be awesome! 🙂

It was exactly what I needed – a warm and comforting meal.

Now for something completely different….

Wedding Flowers!!!

Despite the fact that I do get a bouquet and boutenniere included in my free wedding package in Negril, I have decided that I’m non really keen on the flower choices.  I didn’t want to order a different bouquet on the island because I knew that it would run us $100+. That is when I made the decision to make my own bouquet with a mixture of silk and real touch flowers.  I have read about many destination brides using silk bouquets and have also seen pictures – you wouldn’t know that they aren’t real! Knowing the colours I wanted, I decided that DYI’ing my own bouquet would be the way to go for me. 🙂

Two Sundays ago, my parents came over for the afternoon.  While my dad and C played some video games upstairs, my mom and I snuggled on the couch eating some fresh-baked goods (courtesy of moi) while scouring afloral.com to pick out my potential wedding flowers.  Yes, the wedding is still 4 months away, but we figured we might as well order early just incase I didn’t like how they looked in person.

Well, my flowers came yesterday and I DEFINITELY like how they look in person!

In the mix is turquoise gerbera daisies (my favourite flower), white amaryllis and green cymbidium orchids. It’s crazy how the petals feel so real!

So you wanna see???

Obviously they don’t look as good in these photos as they do in person – due to it being pitch black outside and having poor lighting in my house – but I assure you, they look INCREDIBLE in the sunshine!

I’ll be heading to Michael’s over the weekend and hopefully on Sunday my mom and I will get my bouquet made!

So exciting! 🙂

p.s. these flowers cost us $35 😉

Gingerbread Muffins

December 7, 2010

One afternoon a few weeks ago, I suddenly found myself craving the warm and comforting smell and flavour of gingerbread. Gingerbread or molasses cookies was definitely on my list of things to make, but I also wanted to try a little something different. Something in the form of a muffin perhaps?

The following weekend, we picked up a fresh container of molasses at the grocery store and I immediately started creating in the kitchen.  My first attempt at a gingerbread muffin was ok, but something was missing.  I’ve been trying to make my new baking recipes as healthy as possible and as a result, the first batch was just a bit too dense.  Thankfully I knew exactly what needed to be done, so this past Sunday I made another attempt.

Success!

Gingerbread Muffins

What you need:

1 C whole wheat pastry flour
1 C unbleached all-purpose flour
1/3 C brown sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/3 C molasses
1 egg
3/4 C skim milk (or whatever milk you have)
1 apple – peeled, cooked and mashed into a sauce (peel & dice then microwave 1 min 30 sec – mash with fork)

What to do:

In a large bowl mix together flours, baking powder, salt and spices – set aside

– In a medium bowl mix together sugar, molasses, egg, apple and milk

– Pour your wet mixture into the large bowl with the dry and stir until combined – don’t over stir

– Line a muffin tin with papers (to save from having to grease your pan) and spoon in the mixture until the cups are about 2/3 full

– Bake at 400 degrees F for approximately 15-18 minutes

This recipe yielded me 16 muffins. They go great with coffee or tea, but even better on oatmeal. Seriously, I am addicted to having one of these on my morning oats along with almond butter, banana and black berries. Mmmmmmm.. 🙂

Reverb 10 – Day 7

December 7, 2010
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December 7Community
Community. Where have you discovered community, online or otherwise, in 2010? What community would you like to join, create or more deeply connect with in 2011?
(Author: Cali Harris)

I came across my first few healthy living blogs towards the end of 2009.  I read a select few until sometime early in 2010, I realized that they weren’t just simply healthy living blogs floating out there in the blogosphere.  They were MUCH more than that. They were small parts of the massive healthy living blogging community.  It was amazing to see how so many of my favourites were interconnected and how I’ve begun to love reading so many more because of connections. I’m not going to lie – I’m jealous.  I think it’s great how so many women who are close to my age have all become such great friends via their blogs and the healthy living blogging community.  That’s one of the main reasons I started gearing my blog more towards life, the food I eat and my healthy living choices. I want to be a part of this great thing going on out there. 

Pancakes For Supper?

December 6, 2010

Sure! Why not? 😉

Saturday was a fairly busy day.  We woke up by 8, had a delicious breakfast consisting of some scrambled eggs and toast and then ventured out at 9am to do our grocery shopping for the week.  The Saturday morning grocery shop has been part of our weekly routine since Thanksgiving and it’s great!  It’s so nice being at the stores as soon as the food gets put out. The stores aren’t really busy and there’s actually stock of items we want! It’s also really nice to get it out of the way right at the start of the weekend.

Once the groceries were done, I proceeded to head out to the farm while C stayed home to do his workout. The farm was, well… interesting. Chelsea was a bad girl Thursday night and tossed me. I then found out that she was a bad girl Friday as well when she chose to break out of her field! So not like her! Needless to say, due to me being sore all over, I chose to lunge her (exercise her from the ground) vs. hoping on her back Saturday.

Fast forward a bit, throughout the afternoon I did all of the laundry and we put up our Christmas tree! 🙂  We had planned to do something with these turkey breasts that we had for supper, however come 5:30 we realized that we forgot to take them out of the freezer – oops!

That was when the questioning began… “what do you want for supper?” “I don’t know, what do you want?” “I asked you first!” etc… we’re bad like that. 😉

That was when I decided that I wanted pancakes.

And when I want pancakes, I whip out my trusty Walt Disney Cookbook!

 

This baby was my very first cookbook.

Check out how old it is!

I’m not sure when my parents actually bought it, but I remember cooking the majority of the recipes in here when I was a kid.  In terms of pancakes, this will always be my go-to book. It’s a fail safe recipe that always works perfectly.

I made 3 variations – plain, black berry and chocolate chip.

They were amazing!

I can’t even remember the last time I made pancakes before Saturday. But I can definitely tell you that they’ll be made again in the very near future. 😉

Reverb 10 – Days 4-6

December 6, 2010
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December 4Wonder.
How did you cultivate a sense of wonder in your life this year?
(Author: Jeffrey Davis)
When I think about a sense of wonder that I experienced in 2010, I automatically think about the SportingLife 10K that C and I ran in May. See the recap here. I had absolutely no idea when I was getting myself into when I signed up to to this race. I mean, I knew it was going to be a big race, but I don’t think I actually realized how big until I was there, stangind in the middle of Yonge Street downtown Toronto seeing nothing but a sea of people in front of me and behind me. I believe there was approximately 15,000 people racing that morning all for one reason – kids with cancer. I was completely struck by a sense of awe and wonder as I looked around me waiting for the race to start and while I ran the race. Can’t wait for the 2011 edition!
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December 5Let Go.
What (or whom) did you let go of this year? Why?
(Author: Alice Bradley)

Hmm… what did I let go of this year? I guess it wouldn’t be a bad thing if I can only say that I let go of my fairly big television in exchange for my tiny 18″ one due to the fact that the big one wouldn’t stop barking at me. 😉  Honestly I can’t seem to think of anything or anyone I let go of this year.

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December 6Make.
What was the last thing you made? What materials did you use? Is there something you want to make, but you need to clear some time for it?
(Author: Gretchen Rubin)

The last thing I made was the paper ornament that is acting as the star on our Christmas tree – scroll down to see. I made it using paper, a rubber band, glue and thread. 🙂  Next on my list to make is Christmas-themed pillow covers. Hoping I can find the time this week.

Christmas Tree 2010

December 4, 2010

With a lot of thought and going back and forth, I decided that this year I would bite the bullet and purchase an artificial tree.  I have had a real tree every year since I was born, so it was definitely a tough decision to make, but now that the tree is up, I couldn’t be happier.

The best thing is that this baby only cost us $20 vs. the $40 I usually spend every year on a real one. 🙂

So without further ado….

C and my first Christmas tree together in ‘our’ home. 🙂

The one downside of this new tree was that sadly, my favourite star was just way too heavy. So I used the next best thing I could think of.  A paper ornament that I actually made on a whim this past week after reading this post on How About Orange. I made the ornament as per the directions and then spray painted it with some metallic silver paint for an extra little touch.

I think it works just fine. 🙂

And just for fun… here’s our whole little ‘Christmas Corner’ of the living room.

Just what I hoped it would be – nice and cozy.

Reverb 10 – Days 1-3

December 3, 2010
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Last year, throughout the month of December, I participated in The Best of 2009 Blog Challenge. I really enjoyed spending the month reflecting on the year before and thinking about what was to come.

With that being said, earlier in the week I tried finding out if there was going to be a best of 2010 challenge and finally I found it. 🙂

This year, it shall be Reverb 10.

Since I only just found it, I am a few days behind, so let the catching up commence! 😉

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December 1 One Word.
Encapsulate the year 2010 in one word. Explain why you’re choosing that word. Now, imagine it’s one year from today, what would you like the word to be that captures 2011 for you?
(Author: Gwen Bell)

My one word for 2010 = LOVE

My reasoning for this should be fairly obvious considering this was the year I got engaged to and moved in with the man of my dreams. The year was definitely 100% filled with love.

Picturing myself sitting here one year from today and imagining what my word for 2011 would be is pretty tough. However, I think a good word for 2011 would be – EXCITEMENT. I will be getting married in 2011 and I think the year as a whole will be filled with excitement as we embark on our lives as newlyweds.

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December 2 Writing.
What do you do each day that doesn’t contribute to your writing — and can you eliminate it?
(Author: Leo Babauta)

Is it bad that I’m not really sure how to answer this one?  I guess I could say that I watch tv every night and that doesn’t exactly contribute to my writing. Can I eliminate it? No.  I use my time watching tv as an escape and stress reliever.

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December 3 – Moment.
Pick one moment during which you felt most alive this year. Describe it in vivid detail (texture, smells, voices, noises, colors).
(Author: Ali Edwards)

I definitely felt most alive the moment C proposed. I remember that moment like it was yesterday. It was a cold morning because I remember wearing my blue hoody for the run. About 2km out is when C stopped and bent down complaining of something in his shoe. I was so annoyed and proceeded to run on the spot until the proposal began. I never felt so alive on the rest of that run.  It honestly seemed like the sun came out right at that moment as I remember it beating down on us as we made our way back to C’s parent’s house, but disappearing once we got inside. The excitement is something I can’t even put into words… the smile could not be wiped off of my face. Happy tears were shed as we shared the news with my future in-laws and I never felt happier. It is definitely a moment that I will never ever forget.