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Monday, 25 August 2014

Get a job, work for 35 years, retire....

Starting a new business is different from the norm.  The norm in our society is to get a job, work for a boss, complete the job description, collect a paycheck and go home!  But what if you could be the boss, determine your own work hours, build your own company from the ground up, be truly passionate about your days work and be fulfilled in more ways that one from it?!  

Sounds like a pretty sweet deal right?!?!?  To some yes and to others it scares the living daylights out of them.  But that is why there are so many options in the world we live in.  No matter what your personality style is there is a career path that fits who YOU are!  

As a coach I help others achieve their health and fitness goals by sharing what has and is working for me. I personally focus on clean eating and living a healthy lifestyle but every coach has a differ t personality and take on their business because it's truly your own to mould the way you like it. Some coaches are Zumba instructors or cross fitters and love those fitness avenues but they also live Shakeology and know it can help everyone! 

There are also many coaches who are on their own fitness journey and are looking for a way to bring others along with them and to stay accountable to a community. It's truly inspirational. 

So if you find yourself sitting here reading this asking yourself if you would be good at it then you definitely need to explore the options!!!  

Why?  Because, you don't ever want to wonder if it would of been the right fit for you!  Honestly, if it ends up not being your thing then that is totally ok!  But I believe in giving everyone a fair chance, with proper training, support, accountability and motivation!!!

I will be hosting a 5 day sneak peak into Coaching to give you a chance to explore and learn about this amazing job and find out if it's for you or not. 

If your interested in learning more go to this site and fill out your info to be contacted about the 5 day sneak peak!

Friday, 22 August 2014

Peach Pie Bars

Peach pie is a big treat around here and it's peach season so I picked up a huge box full of peaches to freeze for winter to put in my shake or use for recipes. 
We are leaving for camping tonight and though I have been busy slicing and freezing peaches for the last few days I still have a half box to use up before we go! 
I made a peach crumble the other day which only had a small amount of coconut palm sugar in the crumble so I've felt pretty ok about enjoying that as a nice evening snack. But I'm still wanting that peach pie! 
I just don't have the time to make one before we go with packing for camping. So I decided to try a peach pie bar instead.
It totally satisfied that peach pie craving because the base crust tastes like pie crust.  BUT it's pretty quick to throw together and much less work than an actual pie!
  • 1 cup Whole Wheat Flour
  • ½ cup Cold Butter
  • ½ teaspoon Sea Salt
  • 1 Tablespoon Cold Water

  • 4-6 cups FRESH PEACHES, peeled, pitted and sliced
  • 1/3 cup Honey
  • 3 Tablespoons CORNSTARCH
  • 1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Streusel Topping:
  • ¾ cup Whole Wheat Flour
  • ¼ cup Coconut Palm Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Cinnamon or Cardamon 
  • ¼ teaspoon Sea Salt
  • 1/4 cup melted Butter

  • Instructions
    1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease a 8x8 baking pan.
    2. In a food processor, pulse together crust ingredients to form a dough. Press into the bottom of prepared pan.
    3. In a medium bowl, stir together peach slices, honey, cornstarch, lemon juice and vanilla. Pour peaches on top of crust.
    4. In a small bowl, combine streusel ingredients. Sprinkle on top of peaches.
    5. Bake for 50-55 minutes until the filling is bubbling and the streusel is golden. Cool completely before cutting into bars.

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Share a Coke Campaign

Does anyone else feel just sick about the new Coca-cola campaign "Share a coke"? It's a great tactic on their part, it makes drinking chemical crap fun I suppose. But seeing so many people post photos of their coke and coke zero someone shared with them has been truly bugging me. 

I quit soda years ago because  I know that it is part of the reason so many people struggle with their weight, have diabetes, cancer, cravings due to sugar addiction, cavities, and other preventable lifestyle diseases! 

And don't even get me started on diet soda or coke zero! 

I used to love diet coke. But I have since learned that it's not something that should be going into my body. 

These types of campaigns sure make it fun to drink their product which is exactly why they are doing it. The more fun it is to purchase their product the more they will sell. Coca-cola doesn't care about your health they only care about sales so I caution you to read labels and question if your eating and drinking food products because of a clever campaign or because it's truly something that will fuel your body and make you feel good. 

Thursday, 14 August 2014

NICU reflections

A year ago Fraser was being discharged from the NICU after an 11 week stay!

Fraser in his car seat heading home Finally!
Today is not the exact one year anniversary of Fraser's discharge, that was on August 8th however one year ago we attended the very same reunion party for the NICU Graduates which happens on the second Thursday each year so this day is very significant to us and brings back so many memories. 

Fraser and Mommy at the NICU party.
Today we went back to the Reunion party for the NICU grads and showed Fraser off! There were so many familiar faces , Nurses who cares for Fraser and us, as well as moms I met during my stay and the NICU baby group moms I spent so many Thursday afternoons with this past year.

Fraser only a few days in the Red room.
As I reflect on our time in the NICU and where we were at this time last year I'm both overjoyed with how far we have come and saddened by my return to work and how soon our life will be changing.

O how I miss how sleepy newborns are.

Last year we were so excited to be bringing Fraser home finally after such a long stay in the NICU. But we were anxious, he was a difficult feeder and his weight gain was a big concern. He left the hospital at exactly 5lbs. 
Fraser and I had a long journey with Pumping to bottle
you can find that story here

Well a year has past and a lot has changed. Fraser is about 19lbs, I little chunker! One of the nurses held him for a bit this afternoon and could not believe how heavy he was! Short and chubby that's for sure!! 

A quick photo of my boys playing this afternoon. 

Fraser is crawling and cruising on the furniture. He is a trouble maker, getting into Asher's craft cupboard at every opportunity and pulling out all of the Workout DVDs in my stash. But he is such a happy boy and a squishy loving babe. He says Momma, Dadda, Bubba, Doggy, and Hi/hey. He waves, claps and dances too! He just loves to dance!!

For a baby who had such trouble feeding in the early days he sure loves to eat now! He loves blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, grilled cheese, grapes, carrots, chicken and anything else we give him!

Asher the BIG Brother sure loves his little bro-ey!
Asher is such a good big brother. He was right from the get go and he is so loving.  I'm actually really enjoying this phase right now.  They are starting to play together now; Fraser will crawl to chase Asher and Asher will run away from him.  They also make faces and laugh in the back seat of the car.  I'm really going to miss being off work with both of them but we are moving on to a new phase in our life.

Asher starts Kindergarten in September (pending the teachers strike), and I will return to work.  Fraser has been testing out his new daycare, which happens to be right next door!  It's going to be a lot of changes for us that's for sure.

This past year we spent our days taking Asher to preschool and picking him up, going to the parks, library, books for breakfast program, baby group, in-law gardens, Strong Start at the school, swimming, feeding, changing, Pumping, bathing, and loving each other.  I can't believe it has gone by so so quickly.  As I type this I look over at Fraser sitting in his highchair eating veggie chips and smiling at me while he attempts to feed the dog!  My little goober.

I have about two weeks left until I start work as I'll be heading back a few short weeks, earlier than I had planned due to the unknown start date for kindergarten.  So I'm going to enjoy every moment over the next two weeks before I return to work.  We have a family trip coming up and I'm looking forward to some quality time together :)

The day Fraser came home!

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Homemade Chicken and Vegetable stock

Beautiful golden homemade chicken stock.

Almost every time we roast a chicken I pull out our crock pot after the meal, plunk the carcass into the pot and fill it with water. 

I usually throw in some spices, garlic and onion or even some left over veggies. But this time it was simply the chicken and a large bay leaf. 

I don't recommend the bay leaf pieces because you'll never fish them all out of you soup or sock. Instead use a whole bay leaf and whatever other spices you like. 

Let it simmer on high overnight and into the next day.

So easy to do! 

But how do you store all that stock once it's made? 

I personally like to freeze my stock into mason jars. Above is a photo of my freezer door shelf. I'm a little low right now as stock making in the summer isn't too appealing but today is a rainy day (through humid). 

I simply ladle the stock into jars, let cool, seal with lids and label. Then freeze. Be sure to leave a little room at the top for expansion. 

I can take one out of the freezer ahead of time if I am prepared and know I need if or it's easy to defrost in a sink full of hot water. 

Another option is to freeze the stock into ice cube trays so you can just pop out a few stock cubes as you need them. Just make sure you carefully mark them. My father in law once almost used some turkey stock cubes in his drink when he was over watching the kids!! 

Vegetable Stock

I also make vegetable stock which is practically free to make.  All you have to do is fill your crock pot full of water and while your cooking dinner throw your vegetable scraps into the pot. You can do this over the course of a few days. 

How do you know when it's ready? 
I let it simmer over night but after that, when your ready it's ready, no rush the more scraps that go in there the better! 

This is great if your on a budget. Vegetable and chicken stock purchased in the store is easily $3 for about 2 cups but you can make your own using items that you would throw out anyways! 

Stay tuned for homemade beef stock! I'm going to attempt making beef stock from the bones we got from the butcher when we purchased a half grassfed cow! 

Friday, 8 August 2014

Picnic Planning Guide

I so enjoy picnic's and this time of year is picnic time so before summer is over I thought I would do a post dedicated to picnic food and picnic planning!

A picnic is a moveable feast, and being able to leave the table, television and fast food drive-through in your rearview mirror is one thing that makes an al fresco meal so special. If you're planning a walk to the park, afternoon on the beach or scenic drive, take along a few classic picnic foods or a few new spins on the classic picnic foods that will satisfy your palate while celebrating the luxury of eating in the open air.

Top 10 Classic Picnic Foods:

  1. Potato Salad
  2. Fried Chicken - Or you could pick up a free range Roasted Chicken from the market!
  3. Watermelon OR if you are tight on space you could take some dehydrated Watermelon!
  4. Pasta Salad
  5. Pinwheel Sandwiches
  6. Bread, Cheese and sliced meats - A French baguette, Italian bread or a Kaiser roll makes a delicious foundation for your favourite sliced meat and aged cheese
  7. Deviled eggs
  8. Ready to Grill items A hot picnic entree like classic grilled burgers, brats or chicken adds a new dimension to a simple basket meal.
  9. Lemonaide
  10. Fruit Salad
A few Picnic ideas I like:

  • Salad in a cup (as shown from 24/7 low carb diner blog)

    • Cheese Cake Jars (photo below from the My Bakingaddiction blog)

      • Veggie Skewers (use cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers)
      • Fruit Skewers (strawberries, blueberries, watermelon, raspberries, grapes etc.)

        • To get you started, consider the 5 W’s of picnicking:

          1. Who will be attending the picnic?
          2. What is the occasion?
          3. Where is the location?
          4. Why are you having a picnic?
          5. When is your picnic taking place?

          Think about your company as you plan the menu. Do they have any favorite foods and/or any dietary restrictions? Kids or just adults?
           Is it a special celebration that might require a cake, or is it a spur of the moment cheese and bread kind of picnic? Is this an occasion for a nice wine or a few juice boxes and bottled water?
           A picnic can be had anywhere, really, from the front yard to a roof top, to a nearby park or beach. Perhaps you’ve planned a canoe ride, or a hike to some scenic view? Wherever you decide to go, be sure to consider factors like:
          A. Weather: if there’s any chance of rain be sure to bring an umbrella.
          B. Distance: How far away is the picnic site? Will you have any perisable items? If so, pack them on ice.
          C. Ammenities: are there washrooms nearby? Is there fresh drinking water on site? Consider the general accesibility, particularily if mobility is an issue for older folks.
          No matter what the occasion may be, picnics are a relaxing, casual way to be with friends, family and loved ones while enjoying fresh air and a memorable meal.
          Remember to keep it simple; it should be easy to transport and require minimal clean-up.
          Bon appetite!

          Wednesday, 6 August 2014

          Tangy Lemon Bar

          I love lemon bars but I'm pretty particular about them.  I sought out yesterday afternoon to play around with creating a Healthy Lemon Bar recipe, figuring that it would take several tries before it tasted any good.

          Asher and I got busy making the crust, then the filling and he waited patiently to try the finished product once out of the oven and cooling.  Instead of processed white sugar, we used organic cane sugar for the crust and honey for the filling.  We also used whole wheat flour for the crust.

          When I tried it I was truly expecting that I would need to tweak it and try again but I was surprised that it was just right for my personal lemon bar preferences.

          Now my Father in Law absolutely loves lemon bars and lemon meringue pie as well, so we took a piece over to him and here is what he had to say via text:

          Him "Lemon bar is fantastically lemony"
          Me: "lol it's tangy! I like it that way tho!"
          Him: "Me too! And great base. Not soggy. Good job!!!"

          I'll take that as a win!

          This is the recipe we used for our Tangy Lemon Bars.

          Lemon Bar Crust

          1/2 cup butter
          1 cup whole wheat flour
          1/2 cup cane sugar
          1 TBSP Corn Starch
          Pinch of sea salt

          Mix all ingredients with the food processor until it's crumbly and coming together.  Then press into a square 8x8 inch pan with a piece of wax paper.  Or get your little helper to do that job for you!

          Bake the crust at 350 for about 15 minutes.

          While the crust bakes you can prepare the filling for your lemon bars.

          Lemon Bar Filling

          4 eggs
          1 1/2 cups honey
          Zest of one Large Lemon or 2 small lemons
          1/2 - 1 cup lemon juice or the zest of two Large or 4 small lemons
          2 tsp vanilla extract
          2 TBSP Corn Starch

          Wisk the honey and the eggs together until you can't feel the honey sticking to the bottom any more.  Then grate your lemon rind into the mixture and add the lemon juice.  Wisk in the Vanilla extract and corn starch making sure you whisk until the corn starch isn't lumpy, you don't want white spots on the top of your lemon bar.

          Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes or until the sides of the lemon bar start to turn golden brown and the middle starts to thicken.

          Take your lemon bar out of the oven to cool, and sprinkle with a little icing sugar is you like. Once it reaches room temperature you can either eat it at room temperature or chill in the refrigerator.

          I preferred them chilled to room temperature.

          Tuesday, 5 August 2014

          Dehydrated Watermelon

          It seems like an Oxymoron doesn't it.  Dehydrated Watermelon.  When I first heard about it I wondered if there would be anything left of the melon once dehydrated but it actually works and tastes pretty good too.

          Here is the Dehydrator recipe:

          I peeled and sliced up the half Organic Watermelon I purchased yesterday afternoon and put about 3/4 of it into my dehydrator.  I put it on about 145 degrees F over night and work up to these delicious fruit leather like snacks.  They almost taste like cotton candy.  

          About 4 or 5 hours into the dehydrating process
          All the watermelon in the Dehydrator

          They are a pretty healthy sweet snack in fact, maybe a little to sweet for me but everyone enjoyed them and I think they are a great treat for kids.

          Not a lot of dehydrator recipes I haven't tried before so this was quite fun to try.

          Monday, 4 August 2014

          Frozen Chocolate Covered Banana Bites

          In the summer I'm less likely to want to turn on the oven to bake a loaf of banana bread or banana muffins when I have a couple bananas that are ready to go.  But this simple snack uses them up in a yummy way that doesn't require an oven!

          Frozen Chocolate Covered Banana Bites
          3-4 bananas (depends on how many you want  )
          1 bag ENJOY LIFE chocolate chunks-dairy/soy/gluten free
          Top with whatever: coconut, almonds, even add in peanut butter if you want.
          Cut up the banana's into bite sized pieces, put onto a parchment lined cookie sheet and pop into the freezer for about 30 minutes (optional you can just cover them and then freeze them too).

          Melt the chocolate in a bowl. 
          Dip each frozen banana in the chocolate and cover completely. Place back on the parchment paper. When all the banana bites are covered and on the parchment paper, put the cookie sheet into the freezer for about an hour. Remove the pieces and place in a freezer safe plastic storage bag if you want to enjoy them over the course of the next week!

          Seriously this is the perfect evening sweet treat..for me i don't need a TON to be satisfied...just need 1-2 and I feel like it helps me cure that sweet tooth without the guilt cause I don't know if i'm the only who likes an evening snack 

          I would certainly consider making these for an appetizer at a healthy party!

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