Wednesday, April 29, 2015

What I Ate Wednesday, A day of vegan eats

Usually I throw in a few extra photos on top of my "day of eats" photos. But, as I said yesterday, I am a bit forlorn, having lost my Nikon cameras on the weekend. These photos were taken with my older, perfectly serviceable Olympus, but my heart yearns for my Nikons. It bothers me that someone might be out there using them like they aren't MY babies.

Anyhow, I managed to at least snap photos of my Monday meals so as not to miss out on this weekly What I Ate Wednesday sharing of food. My breakfast was a smoothie made from frozen strawberries and bananas mixed with orange juice.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Spring Lovelies & Vintage Bliss Tuesdays Linky Party #32

I'm always so excited to see what vintage treasures, garage sale goodies and inherited finds people link up at our Vintage Bliss Tuesdays parties. Last week was no different - there were so many cool items. I'm sharing a peek at just a few of those finds, united in that they speak to me of spring, warmth and sunshine (seeing as we don't actually have much warmth around here yet!).

I loved seeing all of Sharon's vintage jewels over at Blue Willow House. How sweet are these two vintage daisy brooches? Be sure to check out the other items in her collection too. I also enjoyed the picture of Melissa's fun and floral spring finds, including a spring blossom Pyrex bowl she scooped up for 50 cents!

Monday, April 27, 2015

The Gluten-Free Vegetarian Family Cookbook (Review, Recipe & Giveaway - CLOSED)

We don't eat gluten-free foods every day in my house, but we certainly have many gluten-free meals, sometimes by chance and sometimes intentionally. It can't hurt to give your body a break from gluten. That's why I enjoyed reviewing Susan O'Brien's The Gluten-Free Vegetarian Family Cookbook: 150 Healthy Recipes for Meals, Snacks, Sides, Desserts, and More.

This book combines three characteristics very nicely - the recipes are gluten free, vegetarian AND healthy. Because, as I'm sure you know, neither gluten free nor vegetarian in themselves necessarily equals healthy. Read on to try one of Susan's lovely recipes and enter to win a copy of the book.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

What I Ate Wednesday

Remarkably I had forgotten just how nutty spring can be around here. Tuesday saw hail, heavy rain, sunshine and wind, all within a few hours. My eating patterns (or lack thereof) have been much the same - anything from hot soup and warm muffins to smoothies. My Monday day of eats looked like this - started off with a chia seed banana berry smoothie for breakfast.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

A Vintage Swedish Blow Torch & Vintage Bliss Tuesdays Linky Party #31

I haven't been thrift store shopping in the last couple of weeks. Probably a good thing, since I've been reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing and setting goals for myself in terms of purging excess stuff from the house. I'll be posting about that in future. Maybe if I tell you guys I'll actually stay on track!

In the meantime, on with the Vintage Bliss Tuesdays party! I am sharing a look at a strange and essentially useless (but kind of cool) item that we have in our house - this vintage Primus blow torch, made in Sweden by BA Hjorth & Co.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Are you biased against ugly fruits & veggies? #drinkeden (With a $150 VISA gift card giveaway)

Have you heard about the new movement towards using "ugly" fruits and vegetables? At the Green Living Show, I saw this tantalizing table with odd-looking but strangely beautiful veggies. I spoke to a young female farmer who explained that they were misshapen veggies, there to encourage passersby to think about how we look at veggies and why we tend to require perfect aesthetics from our food. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, almost 40 per cent of vegetables and fruit worldwide will be wasted before they even reach our homes! Much of this can be attributed to the fact that the produce is not perfect looking enough to suit us. 

No-Bake Double Chocolate Crunch Peanut Butter Snack Bites (vegan)

The older my kids get, the more conscious I become of getting them into the kitchen to cook and bake. Sure we have made many meals and desserts together over the years - I know it's important to start early, even when they are more mess-makers than helpers. But now that they are 12 (almost 13 - gasp!) and 10, they are fully capable of following recipes on their own.

Because they can still be picky about what they eat, getting them involved with food preparation makes it more likely they will actually eat the food. Even when we add ingredients that wouldn't be so palatable coming from Mom. You know, those nutritious little goodies that we mothers like to sneak into our food.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

5 Energy Conservation Tips for Spring and Summer

Spring has been a breath of fresh air...literally and figuratively. With the warmer, brighter days comes the desire to purge excess stuff, open up windows, deep clean and freshen up our homes. In this vein, spring is a perfect time to do a home energy audit too. And of course Earth Day is on April 22nd! Let's take a second look at our energy usage and see where we can create better efficiency...and hopefully cost savings!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

What I Ate Wednesday, with chocolate for breakfast

It seems that spring is truly (finally!) here! The kids and hubby have been joyfully planting seeds by a window in the spare bedroom. They are so thrilled to see the plants starting to pop up. It will be fun to plant them, I guess about the end of May. I am not a gardener by any means.

But I do love to eat! And I love fresh produce. I saw a package at the grocery store this week containing all of these lovely orange, yellow and red tomatoes, above. How could I resist? So pretty and I love the look of the different colours in salads and on sandwiches.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Vintage Orange Flower Dishes & Vintage Bliss Tuesdays Linky Party #30

Do you ever start a collection unintentionally? I picked up a couple of pieces of this cheery vintage orange flowered dishware a few years back. And then, as I said in this Flower Power post, my lovely blogging friend Jill sent me a whole bunch more matching pieces. And a collection was born.

So when I saw these matching lidded soup bowls at the thrift store this week, how could I pass them up? We may never use them, but they sure do look pretty with the mugs. These pieces were made in Japan for the now defunct Consumers Distributing stores. I believe they are from the seventies.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Why You Should Start Saving For Your Child's Education Right Now

Home repairs, mortgage payments, retirement savings, utility bills, groceries and so much more. It's a juggling act for the average family to pay it all on time, every month. So, understandably, a savings plan for your child(ren)'s education sometimes falls to the wayside.

I've been there - trust me, it took us years to start saving for our two kids. Although we had been saving a few bucks here and there since our son was a toddler, we didn't put any money into a formal Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) until a couple of years ago. I didn't start making regular, twice-monthly payments from my bank account until this year. And my kids are 10 and 12 (almost 13)!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

What I Ate Wednesday, with Easter Dinner & A Salad Challenge!

We had a quiet Easter this year. As much as we would have liked to go visit family, we were all feeling a bit burned out, and the thought of packing up all the stuff for the kids and the dogs was just too much for us. So we had a nice simple vegan/vegetarian Easter dinner right here at home.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

My Favourite Granny Blankets & Vintage Bliss Tuesdays Linky Party #29

For this Vintage Bliss Tuesday, I rounded up my collection of prized granny blankets. When I say granny blankets, I literally mean blankets that my granny made. Only we called her Nana. So technically they are Nana blankets.

I managed to locate nine of them, but I may have missed one or two. We use them in almost every room in the house. These quilts and afghans are so warm and cozy when it gets a little cool around here. And, for me, they are like a warm hug from Nana. I miss that baking, cooking, reading, story-telling, witty chick. But when I look at these blankets I think about all the time and care she put into them and I remember her fondly.

Monday, April 6, 2015

How To Reduce Stress & a Chocolate Chia Smoothie Recipe (& a Natural Calm Giveaway - CLOSED)

Do you have any stress in your life? If you said "no" I'd really love to know your secret! Whether it's work and family commitments, illness, aging parents, sleep troubles, racing thoughts or a combination of all of the above, most of us experience some level of stress in our daily lives.

While our bodies are equipped to handle some stress, too much stress can have detrimental effects. The Mayo Clinic has identified these symptoms of stress - headache, muscle tension or pain, chest pain, fatigue, change in sex drive, stomach upset, sleep problems, anxiety, irritability, sadness, overeating, undereating and more! Gets you all stressed just thinking about it, doesn't it?

Friday, April 3, 2015

At the Water's Edge by Sara Gruen (book review)

One of my goals for March Break was to do some reading. Fortunately I did manage to fit in one novel after our excursions to visit family. Once I started to read At the Water's Edge, the latest novel from Sara Gruen, the bestselling author of Water For Elephants, I couldn't stop reading it. Because I have children, dogs and a home, this meant reading late into the night after the kids went to bed.

I did this for two nights and, at the end of the second day, I was finished this captivating story. Despite a tidy conclusion, it was one of those stories where you feel like you are just getting started when the end comes. These are characters that you'd like to know better.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Products We Love - Clean, Healthy Snacks from SimplyProtein (Giveaway - CLOSED)

I'm the kind of person who is always hungry. I don't understand people who can go hours without food. I once had to fast for a medical procedure for a full day - I became a weak, shaky and disheartened mess. In order to ensure that I'm prepared when hunger hits - maybe while I'm watching a dance competition or driving to visit my parents, I always have a snack item or two (or three or four) in my purse. Plus a couple more for my daughter (another always-hungry type).

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

The Benefits of Water & How To Get An Unlimited Supply of Clean, Filtered Water #StraussWaterBar

We all know how important it is to consume sufficient quantities of clean, fresh water. We are frequently advised to drink at least eight glasses of water per day. In fact, while advice and research varies, many organizations recommend that adults drink even more than eight glasses per day. The World Health Organization recommends drinking 2 to 3 litres (eight to 12 cups) of water per day.

Water makes up about 60 per cent of your body weight and is essential to your body's key functions. It helps to clear your vital organs of toxins, delivers nutrients to your cells and moistens ear, nose and throat tissues. I'm sure that most of us have experienced the side effects that a lack of water brings on - even mild dehydration can cause headaches and constipation, reduce your energy and leave you feeling zapped. This becomes more of an issue in warmer weather when we tend to perspire more. And those people who are physically active will need additional water to account for what's lost through sweat.

What I Ate Wednesday

Sometimes I just feel too tired (lazy?) to go grocery shopping. And then it becomes slim pickings for meals and snacks around here. Especially through six solid months of winter. Fortunately with the arrival of spring comes renewed energy, and I have been hitting up the grocery store regularly to replenish our stock of fruits and veggies. Having lots of fresh produce in the kitchen means a much healthier week for me and my family. It always reminds me of the advice that raw chef Pedja once gave me for adding more raw foods to our diets - add healthier choices to your diet and they will naturally begin to replace the unhealthy foods by sheer volume. And, surround yourself with fresh fruits and veggies. Simple and powerful.

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