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.

  

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Peppermint mocha ❄️☕️

I got this recipe from a health wiz I know Mandy. Her version was hot chocolate but I turned mine into a mocha by mixing with coffee. Yum! I was actually surprised how similar it tasted to a store bought peppermint mocha from somewhere like Starbucks but clearly without all the SUGAR and also artificial junk.

Here are the ingredients in a Starbucks peppermint mocha:

Milk, Brewed Espresso, Peppermint Syrup [Sugar, Water, Natural Flavor, Sodium Benzoate, Citric Acid], Mocha Sauce [Water, Sugar, Cocoa Processed With Alkali, Vanillin], Whipped Cream [Cream (Cream, Milk, Mono And Diglycerides, Carrageenan), Vanilla Syrup [Sugar, Water, Natural Flavors, Potassium Sorbate, Citric Acid)], Dark Chocolate Curls [Sugar, Chocolate Mass (Processed With Alkali), Cocoa Butter, Soy Lecithin, Vanilla Extract].

You guys, this SB drink has 54 GRAMS OF SUGAR!!!!!!!!!!!!! I looked it up on their website. That’s a lot, not quite double but almost to a can of coca-cola (35g of sugar).

Here are the ingredients you will use to make this peppermint mocha:

  • 1 1/2 cups almond milk
  • 1 heaping spoon raw honey
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla
  • 1 1/2 tbsp raw cacao powder
  • 1 tsp carob powder (Mandy says raw but I could only find roasted)
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 1-2 drops food grade peppermint essential oil
  • dash of sea salt

Mandy also uses 1 tbsp cacao butter which makes it creamier but I didn’t have that. It might be more essential to a hot chocolate than a mocha. Above, makes 2 mugs of the mocha, but 1 cup hot chocolate as you won’t be mixing half coffee.

I don’t know exactly how many g of sugar this drink has, because of course honey does have sugar properties, but I know that it’s a lot less. I also know that unlike white sugar that provides no benefit to your body whatsoever, that raw honey at least does carry some.

I was also somewhat skeptical about adding essential oil to my drink, but if you do your research and get “food grade” then there shouldn’t be a problem. I typically do not add any essential oils to my waters or ingest them in any way because I find them to be quite acidic and just feel like I would rather juice a lemon into my water than add 2 drops of lemon oil, but that’s just me. This recipe did however really work for me.

I added the almond milk to a pot and started heating it over medium heat.

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I one by one added all of the ingredients listed. This wasn’t how Mandy made hers but I just kind of went with what I had available.

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I used a battery powered milk frother to blend all the ingredients until smooth. This worked so perfectly. I didn’t add to a blender because 1, I only have the plastic magic bullets which I do not like to add hot liquids to, and 2 because I find I lose a lot of heat when transferring and when blending and I like my hot drink HOT. 

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Frothy minty coffee goodness.
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I would say give it a shot next time you’re craving something like this. You might be like me and feel really surprised how easy and delicious it was to make a healthy version of a not so healthy treat.

Don’t get me wrong, I buy coffee out quite a bit. There’s something about working in a down town core of a big city that almost feels cultural about going for coffee. Maybe you and your co-workers hit up the bux on your break once in a while. Maybe you’re running late and don’t have time to make your normal home brew. I am in no way shaming that as I do both. I am just trying to be more aware myself about what I’m actually consuming again. I had a pretty big break from blogging, which is a different Post, but I’m going to stick to the americanos with no sugar at the bux.

Happy sipping!

Pumpkin brownies

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  • 1 cup pumpkin
  • 1 cup almond
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cacao powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

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Blend all together

Pour into a dish and bake at 350 for 35 mins.

These are VERY soft. so let cool before you take out of the dish. These pretty much stay soft.

The original recipe called for coconut sugar not maple syrup. I also had leftover grated carrot for some muffins I made yesterday so because I used another liquid I tossed it in there for some extra substance.

healthy banana bread 🍌🍞

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  • 1 1/4 cup mashed banana(3)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/3 almond milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
    Add all wet ingredients to the food processor and puree.

IMG_0297To the wet ingredients add the following:

  • 2 cups whole wheat/all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • walnuts (optional)

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IMG_0299Pour into lined loaf pan. Bake for 55 minutes at 350.

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~

7 ingredient bread 🍞

I’m really excited about this post! With it comes a couple of firsts; my first loaf of bread and my first feature post! Today I’m featuring my friend Marjan Hansell. The other day she sent me a photo of a gorgeous loaf of bread with no caption, I assumed she got the photo from the internet or bought the bread from a bakery. It wasn’t until later that she said “mmm my bread is so good” and I was wait you made that!?! Send me the recipe immediately! So I couldn’t make this post without sending her a huge shout out for the inspiration of the day! See below the photo of Marjan’s bread.


She sent me the recipe which you can find here : The Minimalist Baker

I made it today and let me tell you it is a great feeling to see something come out of the oven that looks like you purchased from a bakery. It was SO easy, I know you are all capable of creating this and the best part? 7 ingredients. This is what you’ll need:

  • 1.5 cups warm water
  • 3 cups flour (I used whole wheat because that’s all I had) 🌾
  • 1/2 tbsp salt
  • 3/4 tbsp yeast
  • 1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 cup craisins (original recipe says raisins but nah)
  • 1/4 cup raw almonds

That’s it! One thing to note thought is that there is a couple “resting” periods which you will need to plan ahead for. Maybe make the dough and let sit while you go get groceries or run other errands.

Combine the first 4 ingredients together.

IMG_0255Cover and chill in the fridge for 2 hours.It should have raised a bit over the 2 hours.  When it comes out kneed it a few times and put the remaining ingredients on top. Kneed them into the bread, trying to keep the majority of them contained within the dough. If they surface no biggie, but the ones on the outside could burn, if that happens just brush them off after it’s cooked.


IMG_0261IMG_0262When you are ready to bake, make a few slashes on the top.IMG_0264Bake at 450* for 30 mins until golden brown. I love how mine and Marjan’s look so different but still good. I used whole wheat flour because it’s all I had so mine is a bit darker. I personally think hers is much prettier!!IMG_0265

IMG_0267Once your bread is cooked remove from the oven and allow to cool. Once cooled, slice and enjoy! So delicious to enjoy while warm with butter and honey.

I will definitely make this again and was thinking of putting my own spin on it and doing a savoury version with cheese and jalapeño? I’m expecting to hit a huge nut and seed jackpot once I get to the centre of this loaf.

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.

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

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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!