Reflecting

So I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately.

If you’re reading this blog you likely have seen some earlier posts which go back to 2015. I first made the blog when I moved to Alberta and knew not one single person. School hadn’t started yet and I didn’t have a job and Rob worked away in camp.

I filled all my days by trying brand new recipes and eating extremely strict and disciplined. Cutting out all sugar, dairy, grains, processed foods. It was easy at the time because I didn’t have any other commitments. I didn’t even have to leave the house if I didn’t want to.

After some time I obviously felt fantastic, shed some extra weight, skin was glowing, hair was long and healthy, just felt good. I even had Rob on board and we spent hours in the kitchen crafting up fun and new recipes every days off. We both were feeling and looking our best.

Slowly, as I started school, met a couple friends I started to have more of a social life and since I had been pretty lonely when Rob was at work I told myself you know eating this way is amazing but if it means turning down a social opportunity that I’m clearly lacking then I don’t think it’s worth being that strict about it. So I would make some exceptions here and there.

I think we can all relate in some way or another when over time a few exceptions here and there become more and more frequent. As I eventually made more than just 1-2 friends, I started to have more and more social events – dinner out, drinks with girlfriends, birthdays, celebrating end of exams etc. Well fast forward one year in 2016 I was fairly medium on the scale of discipline. Wasn’t eating nearly as clean as 2015 but still considered myself a really avid cook and healthy eater. I would come home from school and Rob had made dinner and even a separate dish for my lunches all with healthy ingredients (which he still does). When we had drinks we would try to stick to craft beers and vodka sodas. Anyways somewhere along the way I (we) kind of fell away from this lifestyle and all of a sudden I’m in the end of 2017 looking back through 2 years of blog posts and almost over come with a heavy sadness that I didn’t stick to all the changes I had made.

Sugar, dairy, grains, and sometimes just straight up junk had crept it’s way back into my life. I don’t even know when or how. I see some photos from 2 years ago at my peak and I am like wow my skin is so clear, my jaw line is defined and those pants fit! Reflecting on the current moment my skin is not clear, my face is soft, and those pants do not fit!!! It’s really hard to see a picture where you know you look and feel better than you currently do and not be extremely hard on yourself and feel guilty for that. I guess I know that keeping that strict of guidelines for myself actually wasn’t realistic for longevity and I know that I was so glad to create a social circle and have interaction with people and I do not regret that part of it. I also know feeling bad, guilty, hard on myself etc won’t change anything but if I’m being honest that’s how I do feel at times. I can’t help but think “imagine what state I would be in right now if I had continued that for 2 years straight”. I mean when I was eating that clean I wasn’t really exercising in the gym although I was walking about an hour a day on weekdays. Now I find myself going to the gym on weekdays before work. IMAGINE I had combined the strict clean eating with the gym. I bet it would have been amazing.

Sometimes I feel like a hypocrite too because if someone brings up a nutrition topic or something about a food, I want to share all the information I gained when doing all my research because truly I’m still very passionate about cooking and healthy food, but then I’m like “you don’t even practice what you’re saying”.

I also realized that at some point a lot of my clean products like shampoo and stuff got a bit lost in the mix. I am definitely wanting to make it back to really clean products and switch my makeup to clean brands.

Obviously when I started this blog I was suffering from extreme boredom and a fierce motivation fill my time and to change my life. I was looking through my archived posts the other day and saw the frequency go from daily, weekly to a gap of 6+ months without posts. I guess in a positive way, I am busier now than ever which means the whole reason the blog was created has been fulfilled. I’m working full time in a career that I went to school for and actually love. I have friends from school and co-workers now that I spend time with after work and weekends, Rob and I are happier than ever and feeling very secure and excited for our future.

Honestly, I’m not really sure the point of this ramble. I think it’s just that I’ve noticed a big slip in dedication to clean eating, that I’m ready to acknowledge and face again. Maybe not quite as clean as 2015 because I do still want to accept invites out and be a part of things. Maybe I don’t want to be blogging daily again as I don’t have the time for that, but maybe I want to re commit to posting more regularly. And maybe I want to motivate Rob and myself to shape up for our wedding so we can look back and be happy with what we see. To be fair I do still make 90% of all my meals at home and still prep my lunches for the week on Sundays. I think it’s just all the extras in between these times that I’ve allowed back in.

Overall things are really good. My career is going well, I love what I do and it’s always interesting and rewarding, although stressful at times. Rob and I are both working hard and now that I’m working full time I can actually contribute equally to the household which is a really good feeling. I also for once have something to provide to us that neither of us had before – medical and dental benefits. I’m proud of that! For as much as he’s supported me through university and taken care of things when I wasn’t making any money, it’s so satisfying to have completed that and now I can offer something in return, not that he would even ask. We’ve almost been engaged for a full year now and can officially start planning in January (eeek). We are also looking to purchase our first home in the spring.

I’m still home sick at times and miss my family. Especially now that I have a little niece who is cuter than ever and I want to see every day. Thankfully I do have a job that allows me to take some time off every year and I do get some long weekends that I will be able to take advantage of and go home. It is nice to not be spending all of my money on tuition and spare time on assignments. I can actually save for visits and have the time to do so. I am aiming to visit 4 times a year or so going forward. Much more often than the 1-2 times a year over last couple years in school.

So really I have no reason to look back and feel bummed about lost progress or how things could be right now when things are actually really good. I definitely do have a renewed desire to get my shit together again nutrition wise.

I have a friend visiting next weekend so you know I’m going to go out for dinner and have drinks. We are going to have a really great weekend enjoying city food and having fun. December is also hard but I swear January – Whole30 reset and really time to shred for the wed.

I honestly have no idea if these rants even get read but it feels good to acknowledge some faults and re commit to working on them. So going forward I’m going to try and be realistic and reasonable yet more consistent and disciplined. I don’t have to be HARDCORE for 1 year and then slide, I want to be pretty healthy and consistent long-term.

  

Advertisements

Sweet & Sour Pineapple Stirfry 🍍

For the sauce I blended a chunk of fresh pineapple with my emmersion blender, 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar, 2 tbsp tamari. You could use canned pineapple instead and use the juice of that.

IMG_0250

Into wok at high heat add chopped pineapple (the canned if you used it). After 1 min add cashews.

IMG_0251

After another min add in green onion, jalapeño, garlic, fresh ginger.

IMG_0252After everything gets toasty, add in a bunch of snap peas cut lengthwise.

IMG_0253 Pour in the sauce and let it come to a light boil. Your choice of rice or noodles, I made rice.Top the rice with the sauce and veg and garnish with a variety of sprouts. Squeeze a lime over everything and dig in!

Yum!! Can add chicken or other meat or leave it veg!

Chicken quinoa Greek salad

Okay so this is a great recipe. You can have it for lunch/dinner/leftovers at work etc. So a while back when I made a whole chicken and then proceeded to make chicken broth, instead of using it for soup I measured it out into individual portions and froze all of it just as straight up chicken broth. This has come in handy so many times and I can 100% say having chicken broth elevated this recipe to a level not even on the scale.

When I cooked the quinoa (1 cup quinoa to 2 cups liquid) I used all chicken broth instead of water. AMAZING. Seriously. It’s hard to get the same experience when using store bought broth because it’s pretty thin but the homemade stuff is thick and greasy and fatty muhahaha.

 

image

Make Greek salad as you normally would. The beauty of this is that you can pick and choose what you add. For me it is cherry tomatoes, pepper, purple onion, Kalamata olives, and cucumber. So colorful.

image

I had a large chicken breast so I seasoned it with salt, pepper, volcano spice, and Italian seasoning and baked it in the oven at 350 for 40 minutes.

image

I chopped the chicken up and tossed it in hot sauce (totally preference and optional). Then I just mixed everything together. Drizzled it with maple balsamic vinegar and of course feta. A tip for greek salad that I love is to add a splash of the feta brine to the mix. It honestly didn’t need a sauce so there was no salad dressing other than the balsamic and feta brine.

image

This was so delicious. I’ve made this many times but this was by far the tastiest time. I definitely give credit to using chicken broth instead of water while cooking the quinoa for making that happen.

 

Thanks for tuning in ❤

Black Bean Veggie Burgers

img_5160
Rinse and drain a can of black beans.
img_5161
With fork or food processor mash the beans into a paste.
img_5162
In food processor, blend half a green pepper, half an onion, and 3+ cloves of garlic.
img_5163
Mix an egg, 1 tbsp of cumin, 1 tbsp chilli powder, 1 tsp hot sauce. Add this to the bean paste.
img_5164
Add in 1/2 cup or more of a binder. I used old fashion oats, recipe said bread crumbs but I chose oats.
img_5165
Form into patties. Recipe suggested 4 but in my opinion that wasn’t the right ratio. 6 were better sized.

img_5167

img_5168
Use a bun or lettuce or whatever you choose!

Spaghetti squash pasta

Okay well this was delicious! Lately I’ve been making a lot of “pasta” with different type of veggie noodles and loving it. This was one of the best.

Start by  pre heating your oven to 350*. Cut spaghetti squash in half and de seed them.

Place them cut side down in a baking dish. You can put a small amount of water in the pan to help steam and soften them. I poked a fork into the rind a few times as well. Bake for 35 mins or until tender.

  Now you can really use any sauce of your choice. I wanted a tasty Bolognese spaghetti dish so that’s what I did. But you could make an all veggie version or something completely different.

Bolognese from PaleoTakeout:

  • 1 carrot *
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 1/2 onion
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp chopped oregano
  • 1 tsp chopped basil
  • 1 tsp chopped parsley *
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 28 oz diced tomatos
  • 8 oz tomato sauce
  • 6 oz tomato paste
  • 1/4 red wine
  • 1 lb ground beef (or protein of choice)
  • * items I omitted because I didn’t have and was too lazy to get

In stock pot saute  carrot onion and celery. Add beef and cook through. stir in garlic, seasonings and herbs until aromatic. Add all other ingredients. NOW the book says to simmer for 2 HOURS which would have been amazing but I literally cooked this while my squash were baking so say half hour ish…I in no way let it get as flavorful as possible but it was still insane. Honestly do a taste before and after the addition of the wine, you will be amazed and the difference it makes!!

When the squash was soft I just took one half and shredded it into my bowl. This was a hearty portion so you could easily feed 4 adults. The sauce goes a lot farther though.  Then the magic happened and they married. AMAZING.

Fajita Salad

These are from my lovely Paleo Takeout book.

To start I made the marinade:

  • 1/2 bunch fresh cilantro
  • juice of 1/2 orange
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder

 

Combine marinade ingredient in a blender and mix away! Doesn’t have to be super smooth.  We cut our steak prior to the marinade and I think the recipe actually says to cut it afterwards but oh well. Ours was still slightly unthawed so it made cutting thin easier.
    Pour in the marinade and let sit for a minimum of 30 minutes. We left our for most of the day while we were out and about.
    When you’re ready, cook the steak. I didn’t realize you are actually supposed to pat the steak dry before but we added some of the marinade into the pan with it. If we had a grill or bbq that would for sure be the way to cook it!
  Cut 2 onions and 2 peppers. We chose to add mushrooms as well.
  Pan cook until soft  To make a salad, make a bed of lettuce and layer the meat and veg on top.
  Optional but highly recommended: Cheese, sour cream and salsa. We opted for store bought salsa because we felt like it :p

img_3778

 

Pumpkin carrot muffins 

These are no joke the best muffins I’ve ever made including non healthy versions. YUM! Seriously. I found this recipe on the Nom Nom Paleo website! It is sooooo good. I made a few slight changes for example it suggest using 5 spice powder which I did not have so I used pumpkin spice powder. It also had cream of tartar on the recipe which I also didn’t have but read you could replace it with a different acid. In this case it was for every 1/2 tsp of baking soda use 1 tsp of lemon juice. I used 2 tsp of lemon juice!

You will need:

  • 3 eggs
  • 4 medium carrots
  • 1 1/2 cups almond flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin spice blend
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt
  • 3/4 canned pumpkin **
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 tbsp almond butter
  • 2 tsp melted coconut oil

**It is very important to make sure you read the can and get pure pumpkin puree NOT PIE FILLING! There is a big difference

Right away I would take the eggs and almond butter out of the fridge because they are recommended to be room temperature to mix smoothly…

Pre-heat oven at 350*

Grate your carrots, place in cheese cloth or clean thin kitchen cloth and squeeze as much of the liquid out as you can manage.

The aim is to have 1 and 1/2 cups

In a large bowl whisk together almond flour, pumpkin spice, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt (I didn’t measure, just did a couple twists of the grinder), and cream of tartar…as mentioned above I used lemon juice. I wasn’t sure if I should still add the lemon to the dry ingredients but didn’t have anyone to ask so I just went for it. Immediately the lemon reacted with the baking soda and created somewhat of a science experiment feel. I was worried this would affect the baking but it was too late. (IT DIDN’T!!)

In a different bowl whisk the room temperature eggs. Add in pumpkin, honey, almond butter and melted coconut oil.

My almond butter was really dry because it was the end of my jar and the oil was long gone so I ended up using my immersion blender to get the clumps mixed in.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry. Mix.

Fold in the shredded carrots.

Spoon into a greased muffin tin. I chose to top with raw pumpkin seeds.

Cook for 30 minutes rotating the pan half way through. These smell wonderful while baking.

ENJOY! SO GOOD

Chicken salad

Earlier in the week I had made some chicken thighs. I knew I wanted to make this for the leftovers….yum.

I started by making mayo:
1 large egg yolk
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp water
1 tsp dijon mustard
up to 1 cup oil.

It is recommended to use macadamia nut oil but I’m cheap so I used olive. the quality of oil does seem to make a difference in the overall taste. I don’t love the olive oil in sauces like this because it’s kind of over powering but it does the trick when needed.

With an immersion blender blend everything except the oil. With the head of the immersion blender still at the bottom of your jar add the oil on top. Pulse and tilt the head to mix evenly. In the past I’ve always slowly poured the oil in as I constantly blended because I thought the emulsion would break if I didn’t, so I was hesitant but after trying it this way it was almost an instant emulsion and it was thick!

Who would have thought you could make mayo…in 5 mins….

  I then took the cold* left over chicken and cut into chunks. I didn’t have celery or cucumber to make it crunchy so I added a chopped apple. This would be great in a wrap or pita or lettuce wrap if you prefer. You don’t need the whole batch of mayo for this….

It is important the chicken is cold when you add the mayo or it may separate and become greasy.

Hashbrowns

Pre heat oven to 400*

Peel, rinse, and chop 3-4 russet potatoes.

image

saute in 2 tbsp cooking fat. I recommend bacon fat….stir often

image

After 10 mins in the frying pan coat as evenly as possible with
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

image

Once dusted, saute for another 5 minutes. Stir frequently.

image

Transfer hashbrowns to foil lined baking sheet and pop in the oven for 15 mins.

image

After 15 mins, flip them, stir them and put them back in the oven for 5 mins on broil.

image

Perfection….these are sooooooooo good. They go with anything. I will make a big batch and then have them ready to heat in the pan with an egg for breaky before class. In this case I made an epic breaky for dinner!image

Mongolian Beef

On Sunday when I usually do my meal planning and shopping I was feeling very unmotivated and contemplated putting it off. After I pulled Paleo Takeout off the shelf for first time in a month or more I remembered why it’s my favorite! Then I got all excited about my dinners this week. This recipe may seem like a lot but its actually quite simple and if you clean as you go you’ll end up with an organized space as well as a “I feel like I’m eating at a restaurant” type satisfying meal.

You will need

Sauce:
1/2 inch ginger
2 garlic cloves
1/4 cup tamari
1/4 cup beef broth
2 tbsp Chinese cooking wine
1 1/2 tbsp honey                                         **
1 tbsp blackstrap molasses (or honey)     ** I didn’t have molasses I just used 2 tbsp honey
splash of sesame oil
salt/pepper

Beef:
2 tbsp arrowroot or tapioca starch
salt/pepper
Steak ( I just used one) cut into strips

Finishing Touches:
Green onions
Sesame seeds
Vermicelli- optional

Slurry:
1 tbsp arrowroot starch
1 tbsp water

Combine sauce ingredients and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce to medium-low while you prepare the beef.

 
  I used my small hand grater to grate the ginger root and garlic.
combine the starch (arrowroot or tapioca) salt and pepper in bowl. Coat the steak strips in the mixture.  Cook in cooking fat, I used coconut oil. The starch allows it to get super crispy and delicious. Add the green onion when steak seems cooked.

You’ll want to make the slurry (super easy) and add it to the simmering sauce. Stir rapidly, you should instantly see the consistency change. Then add the thickened sauce into the meat and onions.

The recipe called for sweet potato noodles but I am into vermicelli so I just stuck with what I know. Tip* If you plan to have left overs to bring to school or work I recommend only cooking the amount of noodles you need/want for the current meal. If you make a lot and mix it with the sauce and meat right away you risk them being stiff and meh the next time you pull it out. Although that’s not always the case if you can put it back in the frying pan. Sauces with thickening agents like arrowroot in my opinion are not the same when eaten cold.

Garnish with sesame seeds and enjoy!! I always love eating this type of meal with chopsticks. SO satisfying. It honestly makes me feel as if I went down the street and ordered take out!  

Hand Sanitizer 

Do you ever look around at work or school and notice that the people on either side of you are hacking and sniffling and it strikes you that you don’t want to catch whatever it is they have!?! Yes, well this is the case for me right now. I have a good collection of essential oils going now so I want to use them for practical things. Below is a few that have antibacterial properties. I got this idea because I wanted to clean my hands during class and wanted to avoid the harshness of store bought sanitizer so I googled essential oil hand sanitizer.

I added 10 drops of lavender

and 5 drops of every other oil pictured above. You can use any combo you like and there are others with antibiotic properties.

Swirl together the oils. Add 1 tbsp vodka, swirl.

add 1/4 tsp of vitamin e oil, swirl. This makes the sanitizer moisturizing, not drying.

8 ounces of aloe. I used aloe juice based on a recommendation from the guy at the store. He said the inside of the plant naturally turns into a juice and that the gel is that with added thickener. Also because I got spray bottles and wanted to make sure it would spray out!

I realized after that I should have mixed directly into the spray bottle. I recommend labeling all your bottles because it is easy to forget what is in each.

TIP!* Pure aloe is actually perishable. This means that you’ll have to store the remaining of the large container of it in the fridge. It also means that eventually your hand sanitizer could be “past it’s prime.” The vitamin e oil and the vodka act as preservatives and should allow you to take it to work or school with no refrigeration, should last a few months. I plan to keep mine in my back pack and spray my hands after we work on the computers. It is not meant to replace hand washing but it is extra help or for when you simply cannot wash your hands.

Suggested Uses

  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Sanitizer for your electronics (keyboards, phone screens…you know the ones we are attached to and put our faces on…)
  • Yoga Mat Spray – deodorizes and antibacterial
  • Air Spritz – if you’re trying to get a clean fresh feel to your place
  • Bathroom counter spray – wipes away soap marks
  •  Kitchen sink spray
  • Door handle spray
  • Frequently touched services – fridge door handle in my house :p

Broccoli bagna cauda

This has easily turned into one of my fave veggie dishes. It’s so flavorful!! If you read the ingredients and are turned off by the anchovy component, I assure, if you give it a try you won’t be disappointed! I got this recipe from Nom Nom Paleo

  • 2 bunches of broccoli
  • 2 tbsp cooking fat of choice
  • 6 anchovy fillets (I just use anchovy paste and eye ball the amount)
  • 1/4 extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • zest and juice from 1 lemon (sometimes I use half a lemon) it can be over powering.

Preheat oven to 400. Wash and cut 2 bunches of broccoli. Toss with your choice of cooking fat and spread out in a single layer on foil covered sheet.

Roast in total for 30 minutes flipping half way. I usually set timer for 15-17 mins then toss and back in for same time. While broccoli is in the oven make the bagna cauda. Heat the olive oil and stir in the anchovies/paste until “melted” in (3-5 minutes). Then remove pan from heat and stir in the garlic and red pepper flakes.

Take the roasted broc out of the oven and transfer to a bowl.

Pour in the bagna cauda as well as the lemon zest and juice.

Yum I’ve never wanted to eat broccoli as much in my life! Try it 🙂   Amazing with steak & wine !

Eggs in a cloud

I got this idea from one of those video recipes that have been circling the net.

Start by preheating the oven to 450 then separate your eggs. I meant to use 2 but my first broke and so I used 3.

Whisk the whites until it starts to form a peak. This didn’t take long and I probably could/should have done it slightly longer.

I added some cheese, green onions, and bacon as the recipe recommended. You could really add anything you like I’m sure.

I lined my baking sheet with parchment paper and made 2 “clouds”. I tried to indent the center slightly.

Place in the oven and bake for 3-4 minutes, until you can start to see a tiny bit of golden brown.

Carefully place the yolks in the indented center and place back into the oven for another 3-4 minutes.

Voila! Eggs in a cloud!!!

The ingredients really aren’t very far from what you may use for a typical breakfast anyway so it wasn’t a stretch there, but it definitely added an extra aspect that I’ve never tried before, always looking for new things to make!  This is a great idea if you have a guest or want to make someone a bit of a special breakfast! They will be impressed.

My bacon seemed a bit overly salty, not surprising but might use less next time. I also think longer whipped whites might make more texture in the base. I will be making these for Rob next days off!

Bean-less Crockpot Chili

I based my recipe from this link!

Paleo Crock Pot Chili

  • 2lbs ground beef (or turkey)
  • 1 onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 diced bell peppers
  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 28 oz stewed tomatoes
  • 14 oz diced tomatoes
  • 5 oz tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp oregano
  • 1 tbsp basil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp onion powder

There are some slight changes in mine from a few things I omitted in attempt to make it less spicy for Rob but I added 2 tbsp of chili flakes in place of 3 tbsp chili powder but I guess the flakes are a lot spicier…good thing I like the heat.

 Dice your veggies. Celery, carrots, green pepper and yellow pepper. Choose any colours you want. I didn’t measure 1 cup I just estimated.
  Saute the onion and garlic and add the meat to the pan and brown.  Transfer the cooked meat to the crockpot, add the veggies, tomatoes and spices.
  Stir everything together, put the lid on the pot and set to low for 6 hours.
  After 6 hours the chili is all blended together for a hearty bowl of dinner.  Garnish optional but recommended; crisped bacon and avocado.
  And maybe a little cheese. We had dinner and I got 6 dishes of leftovers that I divided and put into the freezer for school lunches! It turned out way too spicy for Rob but I liked it.

Pai-shau hair products review

So this post will be a little different. Wanted to just share my thoughts on some new products I tried.

I needed some new shampoo as I recently went back to brunette and didn’t want to use my blonding purple shampoo. I stopped in to a salon that I’ve never been to before but was in the same lot as my grocery store and wanted to find some quality products.

The owner told me his personal favorite was the Pai-shau brand which I had never heard of at all and assumed it was an attempt to upsell me. Being somewhat thrifty, I was at first just looking for the cheaper bottles, which weren’t even that much cheaper at all. I had picked some and went to purchase when the debit machine malfunctioned and gave me just enough time to change my mind. I grabbed some of the Pai-shau shampoo and conditioner and the machine worked…suspicious ahah. I feel like you do get what you pay for and I feel satisfied with this.

$28 each for shampoo and conditioner.

I was actually surprised to see the list of ingredients that these products do not contain like parabans and sulfates etc. After the first wash I did notice my hair felt really nice and after reading some of the reviews I decided I wanted to try two of their other products.

$42 for the mask

Today I went back to the salon and picked up the mask and the oil. The mask is something I would probably use no more than once per week. It says to leave in for 5 minutes but this morning I put it in my hair and left it in for a few hours while I cleaned the whole house. It’s like a really nice deep conditioner.

You want to apply this to damp or wet hair and since I didn’t want to wash mine until after, I just wet it down. It goes further that way and rinses out easily in the shower.

$35 for the infusion

This concentrate is awesome. It’s like the feeling of a hair oil like maroccan oil but without the greasy component. As you can see above it separates and you will want to shake it really well before using. A little goes a long way and I could see this container lasting a LONG time! This can go in towel dried hair or a tiny amount over dry straightened hair to calm any frizz and add shine.

Well over all my hair feels AMAZING today! Soooo soft. It also smells amazing. The scent comes off as a bit masculine at first, almost like a cologne, but it’s already grown on me. It is much more subtle once your hair is dry of course.

Apparently the claim of these products is a concentrated tea blend. Anyway I am really pleased and can’t wait to see how my hair feels going forward!

I think these products will actually last a long time so although it can seem like an investment up front I expect to have these for a few months at least – and I could see the mask and oil lasting significantly longer as they are quite large. There were smaller sizes of both the mask and oil but it was a far better deal to get the bigger ones. for 120 ml of the oil was $35 and for 30ml it was $25 so you can see why paying ten dollars more for 3 times as much was an obvious choice.

I can’t stop touching my hair because it feels SO nice.

 

 

Asian style slaw 

This simple recipe was surprisingly amazing!! The dressing was really incredible. It would be delicious on so many things.

Dressing:
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil (key)
1 tbsp almond butter (can use peanut or other)
1 tsp sriracha
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
2 large grated garlic cloves
dash of salt

I combined the dressing ingredients into a mason jar, shook and set aside.

For the salad you could really add whatever you like. You could also use a pre-mixed coleslaw package for convenience. Carrot and any other veg would be a good addition too.

Cabbage
Red Pepper
Cilantro
Green Onion
Cashews
Dry Roasted Edamame (super good)

The edamame is a delicious crunchy salad topper! I recommend slicing the veg skinny lengthwise instead of chunks.

I was honestly surprised how delicious this salad was. Absolutely will make again. Very easy to whip together but could impress a guest, especially when they know you made the dressing! Could make a full meal by adding a protein or have as a side dish.

Enjoy!

Hi!

Well it’s only been about 6 months since my last post.

You know I take that as a good sign. I originally created the blog because I was bored out of my mind and now free time is awesome!

Since finishing school I’ve been working and honestly things are going so well. I really love my job as a legal assistant with the government. My schedule is ideal and I have a strict routine now. I work Monday to Friday, come home and make dinner, rest and do it all over again. I also have a good a decent social circle now with some awesome ladies.

Things are really falling in to place. Rob and I are both excited for our upcoming plans that I hope to share in the next few months! I will also be making an effort to post more recipes and check ins! 🙂

Thanks for sticking around,

~Katie~

Almond flour waffles

In a bowl mix:

  • 1 1/2 cups almond flour
  • 2 eggs whisked
  • 1/2 almond flour
  • 1 tbsp arrowroot powder
  • 1 tbsp raw honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

 

img_3400img_3401img_3404

 

img_3405

 

How delish do these look? Well they taste even better. I love finding recipes that are a healthy version of a classic favourite that doesn’t seem like a sacrifice.

Emma Fillipoff

So I’ve been contemplating branching out on the blog for quite some time now. As anyone who follows will gather food is a passion of mine. Turns out I have a few others as well, one of which is true crime.  I’ve always been passionate about true crime for as long as I can remember and this led me through my educational path – Criminology and Legal Assistant diplomas.

More recently the general scope of true crime has really focused in on the mystery and phenomenon surrounding missing persons. It absolutely mystifies me that someone can vanish and potentially never be found. Long story short this has brought me here to this moment.

After listening to 6+ hours of podcasts, interviews, and footage on this case I want to dedicate this post to Emma Fillipoff as today marks exactly 4 years since her disappearance.

Image result for emma fillipoff

Almost all of the information I have gathered is publicly available, so what I am writing is potentially just repeating what others before me have put out there but I still think it’s important to spread awareness.

So from what I have been able to gather Emma grew up in Perth Ontario and moved to Campbell River, B.C on Vancouver Island (which is where I was born and raised) where she worked as a chef at the Royal Coachman. This is a local pub, nothing fancy, but I know that she met some friends here, some even that I know. Now I myself was never personally friends with Emma so all of my information is second-hand.

I believe after Campbell River she went back to Perth for a short period of time before moving to Victoria, B.C on Vancouver Island. She went without a job or a place to stay hoping to figure it out when she arrived.

Now I have some conflicting information that I’ve been told by a friend but that I’ve never seen on any of the podcasts, interviews, timelines, or documentaries – that she had a fairly serious boyfriend in Campbell River that she lived with and this lasted throughout her move to Victoria. I heard this from a very close source who personally knew her so I am confused why if it was a serious relationship it is not mentioned anywhere…? I read that she was only in one relationship for a short period of 3 months. Possibly her family didn’t know about this boyfriend or it was the short one and it was actually less serious than I was under the impression of. I have also read that she told friends about some guy from Campbell River who was “harassing” her and she was quite stressed about it. Now I am not saying these are the same people or are connected this is just what I’ve been told or read but this does seem quite strange to me.

She didn’t have a technical address so she used the help of close friends to receive mail and also to book a storage unit in their name. She eventually also purchased a van to which she moved her belongings into and told her friends of travel plans.

While in Victoria she was living quite a free lifestyle – working seasonally at Red Fish, Blue Fish and living in a variety of places – friends houses, house boats, a women’s shelter, and sometimes even outside in the woods.

Now staff at the women’s shelter say they noticed some very odd behaviour leading up to the disappearance. She was moving furniture out onto the lawn complaining they were being noisy and saying things to her. She was seen on surveillance footage at 7-11 and the YMCA looking very nervous, checking out the window as if looking for someone, complained of someone being after her etc. So there were some clear signs of a decline in mental health. Her family back in Ontario was not aware that she had been staying in a shelter or outside. Her mother made the connection because the name Sandy Merriman was appearing on the call display which she assumed was a friend she was staying with. She later learned Sandy Merriman is the name of a shelter when she called the number back.

Her mother had received a series of distressed phone calls from Emma saying she needs to come home, always followed a few hours later by another call claiming she’s ok and to cancel the plans. After the last call, her mother Shelly decides she is booking a flight regardless of Emma’s wishes that she cancel her plans to come help her move home.

The day she went missing Emma is seen on surveillance footage purchasing prepaid credit card as well as prepaid cell phone, which was odd. Emma did not own a cell phone because she was a free spirit and preferred to communicate through poetic often cryptic email. Emma had caught a cab that day and wanted to go to the airport but upon learning the price of the $60 fare she told the driver she could not afford it. She could however afford it because she had $3,000 in her account and also had the $200 pre-paid credit card in her possession.

She had been seen a few times during that day and all sightings report Emma to be carrying a lot of bags and shuffling around down town Victoria seeming very empty-eyed and not herself.

A friend, Denis Quay, had seen her and was alarmed by her behaviour and appearance on November 28, 2012. He walked with her for a while observing some behaviour that concerned him enough that he eventually made a call to the police to report his friend who was distressed, shoe-less, and almost speechless. The Victoria PD assessed her for 45 minutes and decided that was all they could do. Apparently they asked her if she had eaten, if she had a place to stay, if she was suicidal etc. A lot of people have expressed outrage that the police left her here and did not even offer to drive her anywhere, but in my opinion 45 minutes seems like a good chunk of time. I personally know that Victoria is teeming with transient and homeless population and I doubt they can spend 45 minutes with each of them, I’ve also heard that due to liability reasons officers are not even allowed to offer rides to people. Obviously it is not to say I don’t wish they could offer more but I don’t know that this is their fault.

Emma’s Mother’s flight touches down in Victoria unbeknownst to Emma a mere 3 hours after Emma’s last ever confirmed sighting. She goes to the women’s shelter and learns that Emma didn’t claim her bed that night. From this point on, 4 years ago today, Emma Fillipoff becomes a missing person and is never seen again.

There is much speculation in this case since it is unsolved and there seem to be a few odd happenings after her disappearance. Here are a few:

One big thing in this case that is, in my opinion, undecidedly a huge red flag or a huge coincidence is Julien Huard. This man met Emma in Perth Ontario previous to her move to Victoria. They spent time together and enjoyed each other’s company but Emma broke it off due to the fact she was planning to move and didn’t want to get attached. A few months after she moved to Victoria she is surprised to bump into Julien. He says he didn’t know she was moving to Victoria and it was a huge coincidence, which fair enough it is the capital and a well-known place, but it’s also such a far place to move not knowing that the girl you like is moving there too. In an email to Emma’s father prior to her disappearance, Julien apologized for having “stalked” his daughter. Those were Julien’s own words. A very alarming choice of words, but worth noting that English is not his first language and he claims it was a very big misuse of the word and he meant more along the lines of “courting”. After Emma’s mother is in Victoria looking for Emma, Julien bumps into her at the library where Emma frequented. Although he had met her father in Perth, he had never met her mother, and she was really put off by his recognizing her off of facebook. He joined the search until he became known as a suspect and removed himself from the scene. When I was hearing all this I found it quite suspicious, then I also heard an hour-long interview with him where he explains some of these things a bit more and some of them do seem to be coincidences but it’s really hard to tell. I can see why the family would want him looked into further and police apparently did clear him by a polygraph and no evidence has ever linked him to her disappearance other than a string of odd “coincidences”.

In Vancouver there was a sighting of Emma where someone snapped a photograph and shared it with the RCMP and the family. Her mother and father were 100% convinced it was her. They said the woman resembled Emma more than some of their own photos of Emma. She had been seen journalling in a coffee shop which Emma liked to do. They were able to track down this woman who just happened to have an uncanny and heartbreaking resemblance to Emma. Emma had many different looks and often changed her hair and style.

Then there was “green shirt guy” who is still known by this nickname. A 30 something looking man in Vancouver with a green shirt, dark hair, and distinctive tattoos on his arm was seen ripping down missing persons flyers of Emma and telling staff that Emma was his girlfriend and just did not want to be found. He was very irritated and staff was alarmed. They contacted police who immediately wanted to seek this person and question them but they were never able to. No one has ever identified him. The surveillance video of him is available online. To me it looked as if one leg was shorter or he had a distinctive walk.

Image result for emma fillipoff

Then there was the incident where the prepaid credit card that Emma had purchased the day of her disappearance had been used. It was used in a gas station by a man who purchased cigarettes. He told the police an exact location that he found the card, although the man later contacted Emma’s mother on 3 occasions to say that he was an alcoholic and he could not in fact remember the location he actually found it. I believe this guy was also cleared by polygraph. The pre paid cellphone was never activated therefore never used, and her bank account with $3,000 has never been touched.

Obviously Emma’s state of mind was not great. She had been displaying clear signs of mental illness and there are a few possibilities that have come up to what has happened.

Theories:

Foul Play -> Someone could have taken advantage of her vulnerable state. I have also heard that not every person who had let her stay on their boat had been located and talked to. I just can’t even think of all the possible locations you can get to on a boat from Victoria, they are infinite. That person wouldn’t even have to return to the harbour. The possibility of Julien being involved or any of the random people like green shirt guy that has not ever been talked to or cleared. In my opinion if she was abducted or met with foul play it is not a random coincidence. I believe it would be someone who knows her mental state is declining and this could be a crime of opportunity. Maybe someone she knew offered her a ride out of the city?

Suicide -> Emma had written a poem which she had written from the point of view of “dead Emma” some people have speculated that this was a suicide note, others have chalked it up to her poetic almost philosophic view. This was also written over a year before her going missing. She was apparently seen giving away some of her personal belongings prior to going missing which could lead some to believe maybe she couldn’t handle the paranoia she was experiencing. We never know what she was thinking or how rational her though process was at that time.

Missing by choice -> I have heard lots of theories on this that she just wanted to get out of civilization. She had spent time living in the woods, eating mostly seeds and nuts, and refused to integrate into the heavily technological world. She might have just ended up skipping town and blending in somewhere with a heavy transient population or possibly right off the grid somewhere? The phone and credit card purchase would definitely lead one to speculate she was planning something. Also being seen with lots of bags on that day. She had also talked of dream of traveling the world. It is far-fetched but what if she made it out of Victoria and then further. Although her passport was found in her van after it was located at a later point, there are other ways around. Canada is a large place she could be somewhere still here if the first 2 don’t apply.

None of these scenarios are great and I’m not sure the likely hood of a positive outcome but it’s always worth talking about.

Now after her disappearance the news has been bombarded with the story that her mother has been charged with trafficking cocaine and possession of banned weapons. She maintains her innocence and said her son was using the basement unknown to her as a stash place. The charges have since been dropped but people are quick to use any opportunity to shift blame. Does this mean she has something to do with her daughter’s disappearance? Personally I doubt it, but some people believe so. I have heard conflicting stories of Emma being at absolute odds with her mother and even going as far as telling friends she hated her, moved to escape her, and that her family was “messed up”.  I have also read stories that she loved her parents. There is always always 2 sides and at this point I can’t really speculate on the family situation. We know her mother has never stopped looking for her and has been the driving force behind the searches. I cannot imagine how this would affect a mother.

At the time of her disappearance Emma had long brown hair, was 26 years old, brown eyes.

 

 

Image result for emma fillipoff

 

If you are interested these are a few of the places I found my information.

http://truecrimegarage.com/?p=2

https://www.nighttimepodcast.com/

http://www.helpfindemmafillipoff.com/Timeline.php

Healthy Pumpkin Pie & Pie Crust 🎃💛

This year is the first time I will be making a full Thanksgiving dinner myself! I will probably make a follow up post with some other dishes I make for this occasion. Although we are not having Thanksgiving dinner until Monday when Rob gets home from work, I had some free time today and decided to make -> Apple Bacon Butternut Squash Soup <- (an absolute favorite) and this pumpkin pie which is a very first for me. By the looks and smell of it, it will no doubt be amazing.

I found this recipe duo on this blog I just found Elanas Pantry.

Ingredients you will need:
Crust:
2 cups almond flour (not meal)
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons coconut oil (room temp)
1 large egg

Pie Filling:
1 cup canned pumpkin puree (not pie filling)
3 large eggs
1/2 cup full fat coconut milk
1/2 cup honey
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 sea salt

img_0125

Add the almond flour and salt and pulse in food processor.

img_0126

Add coconut oil and egg and blend in food processor until the mixture starts to stick together and forms sort of a ball of “dough”.

img_0127

Press the dough into a pie dish. It says 9 inch and I believe mine was but I wasn’t 100% sure the diameter. It worked out fine. I took my time to press it out to ensure it was even and therefore would cook evenly.

img_0128

If at this point you just want to use the crust for something else or a different pie recipe you can bake at *350 for 8-12 minutes. If you are using this crust for the pie recipe below skip this step and bake all at once as the last step.

img_0129

Add the pumpkin puree and the eggs and pulse together in food processor. Then add in coconut milk, honey, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt and blend well.

img_0132

Pour the pie filling into the unbaked pie crust. You can then use a fork to press the edges of the pie for appearances if you wish.

img_0133

Bake the pie and crust in the oven at *350 for 45 minutes.

It smells soooooo good!! Wish I could eat it right now but have to wait 2 days 😦

Once the pie has finished baking allow to cool fully and then refrigerate for 2 hours so it can set.

 

Hi

Wow it’s been a few months since I’ve posted on the blog. You know that’s just how it goes though, it’s not a job but a hobby so sometimes planning it out and being creative is just too much when you’re busy. It’s funny because I originally created the blog out of boredom when I first moved and had no job, school hadn’t started yet, knew not a single person and was going stir crazy. Now I’m really busy and it’s been a while since I’ve had time to make any updates (which is good!). 


Today I am reflecting and Missin the place I call home. Sometimes it’s hard to be torn between two places you have a home. Miss my 2 sisters, my mom and my dad, my family, every one of my lifelong friends, the ocean, and Rob who’s in camp for 20 days each month. On the other hand after over a year I’m actually starting to feel at home somewhere else. Had an amazing work experience this summer that has affirmed moving so far and makes it worth while to feel like you’ve accomplish something that just isn’t possible in a small place. Things are just taking off here and yet things are changing at home too! With a niece or a nephew arriving at the end of this year I know that will just be one more little love to miss but feeling confident in making these big city dreams come true. 💕✨🏙

Now I have a few days off during which I may or may not share some new recipes. Will definitely sleep in, probably paint, organize a ton of my sh*t, and get ready for school! I love going back to school and I have since kindergarten. A scary realization is that this won’t be happening next year. But I would like to think at this time next year I’ll be working and enjoying the new pace of life.  

Anyways thinking of all of you. Keep in touch. Xo