No, I don’t want to buy your $5 per serving shake/meal replacement/smoothie/whatever you are selling.

Has anyone else noticed that everyone is becoming a representative of some sort of product lately? Skin care, food, kitchen supplies, make up, etc., but the most common thing I keep getting asked to buy and become a part of, is shakes. But the most common thing seems to be shakes and meal replacements, but for me, the answer is no. I get it, though. It is a REALLY tough economy right now and everyone is scrambling to find income and survive. And kudos to all the awesome people in my life that these things work for, who are on a journey of health and wellness and have created a business they love. But please understand, this is not for me. Here is why.

When I tell you I can’t afford it, I really can’t. When you say things like “you are worth the investment”, I appreciate it, and I know that that my health is important and worth a lot of effort an attention. But that doesn’t change my ability to afford it. I use my campus food bank, I budget like crazy, and there are still nights that I have gone to bed without dinner, simply because pay day was around the corner and I had no food because it all went to rent or another crucial bill. This is not the norm every night, though, so don’t worry. I still manage to eat healthy foods on a $100 or less budget per week, in Toronto, for two adult powerlifters with big appetites. We both have smoothies for breakfast that cost $1-2 per person. Mine packs about 40g protein, 10g fiber, 1 fruit, 1 vegetable, lots of fat and carbs, and an array of vitamins and minerals. Sometimes I even eat an orange or kiwi on the side which will up the vitamins and fiber too. These are dietary requirements that are specific to my needs, and meal replacements generally do not meet these needs. Also, I can’t have gluten, which is surprisingly in a lot of that stuff, and I choose not to eat much soy, because it is bad for, and aggravates, all of my weird bodily conditions.

When you say that if I join the business, it will help with my money problems, please understand that I am a full time university student with multiple part-time jobs that I enjoy- I barely have time to shower in a day, let alone participate in the constant social media presence involved in these things. I do enjoy social media, but not for posting every meal and workout I do in a day. And my part-time jobs are ones that are enhancing my life in some way, and I enjoy them.

When you say that I won’t have to step foot in the gym or cook dinners, because all workouts are done from home and dinners are a shake (for example), this does not sound appealing to me. I LOVE going to the gym and cooking. Mostly, I love eating home cooked meals. I do powerlifting, which requires a gym, unless you have your own gym, which would be incredible lol! When you say that I can get weights and modify the workouts to include them, the answer is no. I do powerlifting, it is not the same as getting some dumb bells and following a video.

So I ask that you understand that I have different interests than you, and that is ok. I am excited for you that have a business you love and are healthy and enjoy what you do. I also enjoy what I do, it just happens to be something different. I am so proud of you for working hard towards your health goals! I am also proud of myself. My goals are a little different, and that is also ok. I am looking to gain muscle mass and intense strength, which requires intense workouts at the gym and lots of calories consumed. Hence, low calorie shakes are not suited for me, and meals that cut calories are out of the question. My basal metabolic rate, which is just to maintain my body, muscle, organs, etc. at rest is a little over 1600 cal per day. Add in a workout that burns probably 700 cal AT LEAST, plus add in additional calories to create a surplus for muscle building…that is a lot of food.

So all in all, these shakes and meal replacements just do not suit my life, my goals, or my interests. They may suit yours, which again, is ok. Lets focus on encouraging one another to strive towards our goals, no matter what they are ūüôā

The 27 year old undergrad.

It has been a busy, stressful summer. ¬†I started classes the day after moving into our new Toronto apartment and we still aren’t completely unpacked and set up. ¬†We have been frequently thrift shops looking for furniture, but haven’t had any luck. ¬†Things are slowly coming together back up in the great white north!

My summer semester was definitely hard, it is such a shock going from the working world back into school full time. ¬†But I made it, and with decent grades. ¬†The biggest shock of all, however, was the fact that I am at a completely different life stage them most of my classmates. ¬†Being a 27 year old in undergrad classes, I am 8 years older then some of my peers. ¬†Although that really isn’t much when you consider one’s lifespan, it is quite a difference in what “phase” of life is happening.

I am 27, will be celebrating my 6th wedding anniversary with the Artist at the end of this month, I have lived on my own and with the Artist for many years and in turn have many bills to pay, and my favourite pass times include reading, watching films, listening to CBC radio, cooking (well, I am the assistant- the Artist is the actual cook!), relaxing while listening to our record collection, getting crafty, and powerlifting. ¬†Through conversation with other students around campus, it seems, as it should when you are 19, that going to bars and hanging out with friends are what the kids are doing these days. ¬†I wish I was saying that I was declining invitations to go out to the bar because I just wanted to go home and relax, but it must be obvious that I am an old lady. ¬†Either that, or I come across as an unapproachable person. ¬†Its probably both. ¬†Chandler from Friends articulates it perfectly…

Chandler Bing

I also feel like I am one of the last people to be fit the “starving student” archetype. ¬†I feel like I am surrounded by people who can afford all kinds of travelling and vacations, Mac laptops to bring to class for note taking, take-out food whenever they want, and no problems paying tuition or rent. ¬†Meanwhile, I am doing my laundry in my bathtub, using the campus food bank, sharing a laptop with the Artist (we need a computer equally for our own livelihoods) as well as a cell phone, and taking notes in class with a notebook that my parents bought for me and a pen I took from their ¬†house. ¬†I filled that notebook completely, so lets hope they buy me a new one for the upcoming term, LOL. ¬†I also have no idea how I will be paying my tuition that is due at then end of this month, not to mention bills, and I continuously sew together the same few clothing items that keep gaining new holes or tears.

It is all very weird, being in undergrad classes at 27.  When I was 19, I thought for sure that at 27 I would have the best job that ever existed and been done school with a prestigious degree(s) and have my dream home and life all figured out.  Well, I have come to the conclusion that you never really figure life out.  It is an ongoing journey with changing goals and aspirations along the way- so you might as well enjoy things, one day at a time.

Today I enjoyed bacon, egg and veggie scramble, and hash browns for lunch.  I enjoyed grocery shopping and still having about $10 left over for any other food needs that might arise this week.  I am going to workout later with the Artist, and despite my current sciatic pain, I will enjoy that too.  I will enjoy watching the Olympics tonight snuggled up with my love, and I will enjoy how beautifully gloomy and rainy it is this afternoon.

To see more photos of me enjoying the simple things in life, check me out on instagram @capitaineflash

As much as I would LOVE to travel and take a vacation, not have to worry about how I will pay tuition, or go shopping for new clothes and shoes whenever I feel like, I am sharing my life with someone who makes me smile and laugh every day, who shows me unconditional love, supports me, and inspires me….and that is more important than anything.

Suddenly, the mangled and torn insoles of my shoes seem so insignificant ‚̧

Chocolatey all-in-one breakfast smoothie!

I have been searching for a breakfast smoothie that is a “complete” breakfast, that I can take on the go, and that actually tastes good. ¬†Finally, I have discovered a combination of ingredients that tastes amazing and fits my breakfast needs! ¬†With breakfast, I aim to get a good source of fibre, a good source of protein, and at least one serving of fruit (or vegetable). ¬†Smoothies seemed like a good option to me for days when I am working in my office and can bring this smoothie to drink at my desk, but I struggled to find something that worked. ¬†The struggle is over my friends…..I am in love with this smoothie! ¬†It is so chocolatey, which for this girl, is a win. ¬†I could eat chocolate forever! ¬†There is no signal in my brain to tell me to stop eating chocolate ūüėČ

Note that this recipe is very forgiving, and each ingredient can totally be adjusted to your nutritional needs and taste preferences.  Below is what suites my taste!

Chocolatey all-in-one breakfast smoothie:

(approx. 20g protein and 11g fiber)

– 1 banana

– 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt

– 1/3 scoop of vanilla protein powder

– 2 tbsp chia seeds

– 2 tbsp Dutch cocoa powder (***see note on this ingredient below)

– splash of water (***see note on this ingredient below)

– variations: drizzle of honey, scoop of peanut butter, etc.

– 2 or 3 ice cubes (optional)

Directions:

Place all ingredients, except the ice cubes, in a blender, and blend until smooth. ¬†Feel free to add the ice cubes if you want a more slushy texture, see below for how I like to make mine! ¬†I use a Magic Bullet blender, as it is so easy and uses less dishes because you make the smoothie in the cup you use to drink it…it comes with travel lids to screw on and everything!

Note on the Dutch cocoa powder: I use Dutch cocoa powder instead of the regular kind because I prefer the taste of it.  I had never tried it until recently, and have totally fallen in love.  It makes for a darker colour, and a more rich and chocolatey, sort of brownie-like taste.  I highly recommend trying it!

Note on the water: I add a splash of water and then blend it. ¬†Then add small amounts of water if necessary to adjust the consistency. ¬†Sometimes I am in the mood for a thicker shake, sometimes thinner ūüôā

Right before I head out the door, I like to add 2 or 3 whole ice cubes (the same way you would add ice cubes to a glass of pop for example).  This keeps my smoothie nice and cold- just the way I like it!  I like to keep the smoothie thick as this thins it slightly as the ice cubes melt.

Sometimes I like to switch it up with honey or peanut butter too!  Sometimes I have just this smoothie for breakfast, but sometimes I might have a handful of berries on the side or drink a small glass of freshly squeezed orange or carrot juice as well.

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Top 6 Ideas for Easy Preparation of Weeknight Meals (and even packing lunches too!).

My sister and brother-in-law are very busy career folk with 2 dogs, a house under renovations, and a million other things to do, and freeze a lot of meals for quick dinners on busy weeknights.  After a recent conversation, I was inspired to share what I do for quick and easy meals, and how this preparation and routine has helped me maintain a healthy, whole foods diet (for the most part, haha!).

1. Have cooked or thawed protein in the fridge at all times.

I like to buy in bulk and freeze meat, and there is nothing worse then being hungry for dinner and having to defrost something before you can even cook it!  I like to bake 5 or 6 chicken breasts in the oven, with a simple seasoning such as salt and pepper, or some herbs.  This way, they can be doctored up later.  Add a drizzle of oil for extra flavour and juiciness.  Chill in the fridge in a container for later use.  P.S. Cutting cooked and chilled chicken is so much easier and slices SO nice.  Now you can add it to a salad for an entree-style salad, make a quick wrap, or pasta.  You could also cook a whole chicken, bone-in chicken, etc. and do the same thing.  For pork and beef, I prefer to have them thawed and even marinated for a day or two in spices or whatever, or even cut up and put on kabobs for quick grilling.  This works with chicken too.  Or with thawed meat you can cube it or slice it when raw and store in the fridge.  Sometimes cleaning and cutting the meat takes awhile, but this way, it is already done.

 

2. Make a big batch of homemade tomato sauce.

When you have tried this, you will never go back to the canned store bought kind again.  I freeze it in batches and always have one ready in the fridge.  Chicken parm sandwiches, english muffin or pita pizzas, or pastas are made super quick easy.

 

3.  Triple recipes, or just make a TON of something at once.

Put on the radio, and spend some time in the kitchen on the weekend and cook up a favourite dinner. ¬†We love pasta dishes in our house and make huge batches of them. ¬†Mac n’ cheese is really delicious for leftovers, and can easily be healthified. ¬†We will make a pasta that has 4 or 5 chicken breasts in it and a mound of veggies is on the cutting board waiting to go in. ¬†Pasta is good for leftovers and re-heats well too. ¬†If you have a microwave at work (or like cold pasta) you will have lunches for several days, or leftovers to eat anytime.

 

4. Prep all your produce.

Wash, cut, and prepare all the fruits and veggies (including lettuce and greens) in your fridge store in containers (which also makes for easy snacking, I find I am much more likely to grab them if they are ready to go).  For lunches, I even take it a step further and portion them into baggies for small lunch containers for the week.  That way, all the work is done and I plop them into my lunch bag.  And having peppers and mushrooms sliced and washed already, and lettuce clean and dried, cuts dinner prep time way down.  I even sometimes do things 2-ways, for example, I will cut carrots into sticks for snacks and side dishes and also shred some for salad toppings.  Words cannot describe how useful it is to have a fridge full of washed and prepped fruits and veggies.  If I have edamamme, I will cook it and do the same thing (it is good hot or cold, or added to salad or stir fry).  Or I will have a can of beans or chick peas rinsed and ready in a container for salads and topping any dish basically.

 

5. Cook up a batch of rice.  A big one.

With your veggies already prepared and meat thawed, you can stir fry it all together and then serve over rice for such an effortless, yet delicious dinner.  I find rice re-heats well, in my opinion.  Or make a curry, which is really easy, yet really hardy, and serve with rice.  And combine leftover cooked rice with leftover cooked chicken, you get an amazing homemade chicken fried rice.  I even like our homemade, healthier version better then take-out now.  We almost never buy it out anymore.

 

6.  Use the slow cooker for everything.

Casseroles, meat, roasts, sauces, etc.  It does the work all day and you come home to a delicious meal!  For extra fast meals, do something all-in-one, like pork loin with potatoes/onions/carrots, seasoning of choice, and voila.  You could even add a side salad or corn on the cob for something extra.

Now I bet all of this sounds like a ton of work, and just really not do-able at all. ¬†But I don’t have every single example above ready in my fridge. ¬†My rule of thumb is: always have cooked or at least thawed protein available and abundant, and prep all produce. ¬†One week I might have a ton of cooked chicken breast and rice in the fridge, the next week might be more grilling with side salads, and the next week might be making loads of 1 or 2 dishes for leftovers.

I pick a day when I have some time, put on my favourite radio station (oldies or NPR usually) and head into the kitchen on a Sunday afternoon. It’s very relaxing, because there is no time frame, I am not starving, and can putter around. ¬†Or the Artist and I will do it together one night, and catch up, be silly, or have really great talks about life, or all of the above. ¬†Being in the kitchen together is one of our favourite ways to spend time together. ¬†Sometimes we even take it a step further; the Artist will prepare a big dinner with tons of leftovers, and I will prep all the produce for the week, and we will pour drinks, turn up the tunes, eat the dinner by candle light, and make a mini-date out of it.

When these are all prepared, and I even pre-portion for lunches (so I literally grab my lunch from the fridge and plop it in my lunch bag in the morning), I eat a lot healthier and a much more balanced diet.  We are less likely to resort to junk or take-out when we get home tired after a long day because we can make something delicious and homemade in minutes.

The fastest meals, I would say in 15 minutes or less, would be: entree-style salads, tacos (using already cooked meat or beans), quesadillas, wraps, and grilled kabobs.

On the more medium side of things, in about 20 minutes, you could have: grilled meat, stir fry (less time probably if you use cooked meat instead of sautéing), pita or flatbread pizza, or grilled paninis.

And in about 30 minutes, you could make: spaghetti, chicken fried rice, any pasta dish, prepare pizza dough ahead of time by rolling it in desired shape(s) and freezing (you could even cook it for a few minutes to help it hold its shape) for taking pizza at home to the next level, spicy orange chicken with cashew nuts (or any Asian dish that doesn’t involve battering and frying the meat before starting), or larger cuts of meat including larger cuts of bone-in meat either grilled, or oven roasted.

In 30+ minutes: mac n’cheese casserole, sweet and sour chicken (or Asian dishes that include battering and frying meat), Mongolian style stir fry with Sriracha sauce, and of course things in the slow cooker. ¬†These just mostly require time for cooking and don’t need as much attention other then checking or stirring during this time.

And for all of these examples, having prepped produce will come in handy for easy and quick side dishes and salads.  For example; grilled peppers, corn on the cob, steamed broccoli, roasted asparagus, raw veggie platter with hummus, and never ending combinations of salads.  And to keep things as healthy as possible, choose whole wheat options, make your own marinade instead of using a bottled one, and be aware of how much sodium and sugar you use so that you can adjust to fit your needs/wants.

I hope this was helpful ūüôā

 

Getting Out of This Funk- Update.

I think it is time to update my get-out-this-funk status. ¬†I have been working hard at my checking off everything on my list, and feeling much better ūüôā ¬† No more letting these winter blues bring me down!

– Clean the house, top to bottom. A cluttered and messy living space makes for a restless and overwhelmed mind. And a clean and tidy living space makes for a more calm mind, or so I have found for me. DONE!

– Catch up on laundry. IN PROGRESS! (I never have enough quarters….)

– Schedule a day that works for both the Artist and I to prepare our taxes. MAILING OUR FINAL PAPERS ON MONDAY!

– Apply for an external scholarship. IN PROGRESS!

РGo to the Soulard Farmer’s Market. To stock up on fresh and healthy foods, support local farmers, and get some fresh air and out and about in the community. I like to eat local and organically as often as I can. NOT YET, BUT MAYBE TOMORROW!

РDo some yoga. I enjoy kripalu yoga. I find it is relaxing, stress relieving, and is really beneficial for my body’s needs. NOT YET

– Work with the Artist on fixing up the chairs from Goodwill. DONE! (refer to previous post)

– Stock up on lots of healthy foods to fill my body with nutrients, and to entice me to cook lots of home cooked meals, and healthified baked goods. DONE! (Still some items I would like to get, but still bargain hunting for a good price!)

My favourite salad.

My favourite salad.

Pork and veggie kabobs.

Pork and veggie kabobs.

Home made Mongolian Grill style stirfry.  AMAZING!

Home made Mongolian Grill style stirfry. AMAZING!

Chocolate peanut butter cups, healthified.

Chocolate peanut butter cups, healthified.

The middle is organic, natural, unsalted PB with some vanilla protein powder to help flavour it and thicken it up a bit.  The chocolate is organic unrefined coconut oil, cocoa powder, and honey and pure maple syrup to taste.  The flavours of those don't come through, they just sweeten.

The middle is organic, natural, unsalted PB with some vanilla protein powder to help flavour it and thicken it up a bit. The chocolate is organic unrefined coconut oil, cocoa powder, and honey and pure maple syrup to taste. The flavours of those don’t come through, they just sweeten.

– Switch up my exercise routine to include heavier lifting and more cardio. LIFTING HEAVIER ūüėÄ FOR MY VERY FIRST TIME EVER IN MY LIFE, I GRABBED WEIGHTS ON THE BOTTOM FREE WEIGHT RACK! STILL TRYING TO WORK IN MORE CARDIO.

– Clean out and organize the fridge, freezer, and pantry. DONE!

– Find good homes for clothing and other items that I no longer need, and that are contributing to the clutter. NOT YET

– Do a little thrifting. I could some some non-winter shoes that are more fancy then every day wear. DONE! (refer to previous post, although you can never do enough thrifting lol!)

– Pick up my knitting. WORKING ON SOME LEG WARMERS!

– Finish my current novel. IN PROGRESS!

– Watch some good movies. YES ūüôā Among others, I recently saw Gravity. ¬†It was amazing, but really scary. ¬†Space really freaks me out. ¬†It is like my worst nightmare, being lost in space. ¬†Or bring lost at sea on a rubber dingy, with no land in sight. ¬†The vastness of the ocean also freaks me right out. ¬†I could never go into space, or go scuba diving. ¬†I don’t even like doing for deep sea swims in a lake or something where the bottom is waaaaay down there. ¬†I’m not sure what it is, but it is so scary to me. ¬†Way more scary then horror movies with fictional monsters or villains.

On a happier note, I listened to an interesting story on NPR recently.  The Artist and I were in the car, arriving at home, but ran into the house as fast as we could to turn on the radio to continue listening.  It was about a man who was several months behind in his rent and had to go before a judge, and was facing eviction.  He was given 15 days to come up with the money his owed, and had no idea how he was going to do it.  He entered a rap contest and the grand prize was exactly the amount he owed.  He was struggling to make a living, trying to follow his dreams.  In the end, he and another contestant were tied for the win, and he was able to pay off his rent debt.  Shortly thereafter, having been seen at the contest, his career took off and he was going off on tour.  He said that if this is what it took for him to make it, then it was all worth it.

The moral of story is, don’t give up on your dreams. ¬†Don’t settle for anything less then what you want. ¬†I think the reason why the Artist and I enjoyed this radio talk so much was because we are living this story. ¬†We are struggling, we are broke, but we keep on going. ¬†One step at a time, we are headed in the right direction. ¬†We figure out whatever obstacles are presented to us, and we become that much closer. ¬†Some think we are crazy to “choose” this struggle, that it is really worth it? ¬†The answer is yes. ¬†Without a doubt. ¬†We know what we want, and will stop at nothing. ¬†As the saying goes, “even the longest journey, begins with a single step”.

I know what I want in a home.  I know what I want in a career.  I know what I want in a family.  I am in an amazing marriage.  I am head over heels in love.  I will work hard to achieve my goals.  I will never give up.

Am most importantly, I am happy. ¬†And really, isn’t that all that matters?

 

Moving Food.

Recently, we were talking about food experiences that have moved us. ¬†I am not just talking about super delicious foods, or what our favourite foods are, I am talking about being so moved, there are no words to describe the level of deliciousness going on, that it is life changing. ¬†My life changing food experiences? ¬†Eating at Mission Taco- everything on the menu. ¬†Buttermilk cake donut from World’s Fair Donuts. ¬†Discovering how much I love banana peppers on a wrap or sandwich. ¬†And the sauce the Artist made for our chicken last night, which was his take on a General Tso’s. ¬†The Artist’s food moving experiencing included; a kabob he had on the beach in Spain with this mystery sauce, anything at Mission Taco, and this parmesan cheese from a wine show in Toronto.

Before I move on, I would like to take a moment and talk about why Mission Taco is so amazing.  I have never had a good restaurant experience with Mexican food, other then at Mission Taco.  Other places are so salty I get a stomach ache afterwards, or are so bland I could have made it better myself at home, or are greasy, etc.  And chopping up vegetables and putting them in the same bowl, does not equal pico de gallo- they need to be dressed in something and have some flavour.

At Mission Taco, the menu has so many options, from tacos, to burritos, to tortas, churros, side dishes, starters, and house made salsas.  I have tried a few of the tacos and the flautas, and the Artist has tried most of the tacos.  We have also been recommended by others that the guacamole and side corn is amazing, and the tortas are a must-have.

The flautas are fried, but somehow, they aren’t heavy. ¬†I was a little sceptical about the corn inside, but it compliments the flavours SO well. ¬†The chihuahua cheese also married well with the rest of the ingredients, and the ancho BBQ sauce was utter perfection. ¬†And the flautas were rolled nice and tight, which made for easier eating and they didn’t fall apart.

All of the tacos we have tried all have the same things in common: lots of meat, perfect flavour combinations, light and tasty. ¬†Each taco is topped with different things in order to best serve the protein, rather then top every taco with ¬†cheddar, lettuce, and sour cream. ¬†And I don’t like it when someone puts insane amounts of lettuce on something. ¬†One time, the Artist got a fast food taco, and it was basically a smidgen of ground beef, unseasoned, and copious amounts of lettuce. ¬†Nothing else. ¬†But mission taco uses other flavour profiles like arugula, cabbage, avocado, pickled onions, different salsas and sauces, and instead of overloading the meat with twenty thousand toppings, they select a few that best go together, and create flavour combinations that just blow my mind away. ¬†So. ¬†Good. ¬†The thought that goes into each and every dish, and specially choosing each ingredient so they all add something to the dish, is just amazing. ¬†If you are in St. Louis, check out Mission Taco!!! ¬†I cannot wait to go there again!!!

Then the Artist starts talking about his favourite foods, like burgers, and basically any meat.

Artist: There is nothing better then a freshly caught lobster and big bowl of butter.

Me: (laughing)

Speaking of food…

Artist: I need to eat more.

Me: (is he being sarcastic because he is holding his stomach saying that?) Actually, ya!  I ate normally yesterday and it was still more then you ate.

Artist: Ugh.

Me: And you need a lot more food, you are a bigger person and have tons of muscle that needs to be fed.

Artist: I need to eat more.

Me: I think it is because of who you are.  You are a romantic artist, obsessed with your craft that eating and other daily activities are not priorities.  Or do I need to feed you more?

Artist: Both.

Me: (laughing)

Artist: You know I’m kidding, right? ¬†Yes because I am an artist, and no you don’t have to feed me. ¬†But when you do, I love it.

Me: I will feed you lunch after I do the dishes, it is a pig sty in there.

Artist: (face beaming with excitement)

I think these thoughts he had stemmed from the delicious breakfast I made for him. ¬†We did a hard workout last night, and I was feeling loving and generous so I offered to make him any breakfast he wanted. ¬†It ended up being 3 scrambled eggs, a plain bagel with butter, and coffee- I even freshly ground the beans. ¬†He isn’t a big fan of eggs, but eats them often for their nutritional value and protein, especially after a workout. ¬†But for some reason today, he loved them! ¬†He gobbled them up so fast, making “Mmmmm” noises as he ate.

He is so funny. ¬†He was so grateful for such a nice breakfast, I was showered with gratitude and cuddles ‚̧ ¬†I think if he was any sweeter, he would melt.

He makes me laugh so often, that I have realized how much smiling and laughter can really have a positive effect on even the worst of moods. ¬†He came home from a long day of working, all hot and sweaty from walking in the warm weather, and clearly, the best place to flop down as soon as you walk in the door after a hard day is the floor (right beside the soft, comfy couch) ūüėÄ

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And clearly, the best place to paint is in the kitchen, on the floor, in the muddy entry way ūüėÄ

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How can I not be so in love with him? ‚̧

Donuts, Poutine, Truffles, and a Homemade Scarf.

My cheat treat this week was poutine, something I had on my mind and it was long overdue for achieving satisfaction. ¬†I did it at home, because St. Louis has no clue what poutine even is. ¬†I couldn’t find any cheese curds, so I just used mozzarella. ¬†For make-shift poutine at home- I did pretty darn good. ¬†It was really yummy, and the Artist even liked it too.

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The next morning we planned on grabbing donuts at World’s Fair Donuts-ok, so I had 2 cheat treats lol-on our way to the free admission of the Botanical Gardens. ¬†We are cursed for this. ¬†We have to get there before noon to get the free admission on Saturdays, and something always happens. ¬†Sometimes there is traffic or an accident and we are stuck, etc. but this time, we got lost. ¬†The road we were supposed to take was not a through road, therefore we couldn’t turn where we were supposed to. ¬†Obviously, we got lost and drove around for like 2 hours. ¬†We got there just after noon, and they wouldn’t let us in unless we paid. ¬†So we got donuts afterwards and went grocery shopping instead. ¬†World’s Fair Donuts are amazing, and so cheap. ¬†A buttermilk cake donut is just 56 cents. ¬†And boy are they ever tasty.

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There are no words to describe this.  You must try it to fully grasp what I am trying to tell you.  I could eat an endless amount of these and never get sick of them.  So good.

Hopefully next time we make it to the gardens on time. ¬†I want to go again now that it is fall because of all the beautiful fall colours and nice weather. ¬†And by nice, I do not mean scorching hot. ¬†And by nice, I do not mean lung burning cold. ¬†By nice, I mean a light jacket or sweater is all that is needed because the breeze is fresh and the sun is out- and we are far enough away from it now in November that it doesn’t feel scorching.

This nice weather makes me actually want to spend time in the kitchen, and not have to slave over a hot stove and oven sweating like a maniac- like during the summer. ¬†So I made some healthy treats that taste amazing. ¬†These little truffle bites are made with chick peas. ¬†The Artist says they taste “healthy” but I think they taste the same as my non-healthy ones. ¬†I posted about the non-healthy version previously….chocolate-peanut butter-pretzel truffles (or balls, or whatever you want to call them). ¬†These ones consist of chick peas, organic natural unsalted peanut butter, a few pieces of chopped dates, and pretzels, blended together in the food processor. ¬†It is sort of crumbly, but you can form balls in your hands and I rolled a few in dark chocolate, a few I left as-is, and a few I rolled in crushed peanuts. ¬†I keep them in the freezer and eat them frozen- for some reason I like to eat frozen things. ¬†Cheesecake, brownies, chocolate bars, fruit chunks, cookies, etc. etc. ¬†I think it started with my impatience for not wanting to wait for them to unthaw, and now I prefer them frozen.

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On another note, I recently finished up another knitting project. ¬†I have been doing this one forever- like over a year haha. ¬†Like I said in my last post, I don’t get addicted to projects with smaller needles and yarn- and this one is both. ¬†I made a scarf, with alternating knitting stitch stripes and stockinette stitch stripes. ¬†It is attached at the ends, so you put your head through the whole, versus wrapping it around.

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The Artist is so sweet, today he made the bed for me. ¬†And the other day he “forced” me to buy a $1 pair of Christmas socks, because he knows how much I love festive items, especially socks. ¬†And this pair, for some reason, are my absolute most favourite, and he could tell instantly that they were perfect. ¬†He also talked with me about future plans, where to live after he is done school, goals, career moves, etc. and we stayed up until the wee hours of the morning having an amazing heart-to-heart laying in bed in the dark. ¬†Snuggling of course. ¬†It was a really great talk. ¬†He knows me inside and out, and there is nothing we wouldn’t do for my happiness. ¬†And I for him. ¬†This morning I made hime his coffee before I left, and placed a little love note on top of the coffee make so he would see it right away. ¬†He says when he makes coffee, and when he does, it tastes like swill. ¬†Swill, or hot brown water. ¬†But the funny thing is, I don’t even drink coffee. ¬†We came to the conclusion that when something is made for you by someone else with love, it makes a difference in the taste ‚̧ ¬†The other day he made me smile, and warmed my heart to the core. ¬†He is so funny, and I love discovering his antics after the fact. ¬†I come in and sit down on the couch beside him, and told him that his shirt is on inside out. ¬†He hadn’t realized this and had been walking around all day like that. ¬†“Thankfully”, he said, he “didn’t go out in public”. ¬†My heart=warmed instantly. ¬†He was more then likely focused on his painting and other works that he didn’t realize. ¬†He sees the world in a way that no one else does- every shadow, shape, and colour is interesting. ¬†Flaws are not undesired, but rather, beautiful and tell a story. ¬†From his perspective, noticing his shirt on backwards, or being bothered to switch it, wasn’t important. ¬†The world has too much else to offer.

Sometimes, we don’t need to “do” or “say” something, all we need to do is embrace one another. ¬†These extended hugs communicate everything between us when words don’t have the right, or enough, meaning.

Take a moment out of the day and hug your wife, husband, partner, or significant other, and pause for a moment. ¬†Embrace with your heart. ¬†Draw a gentle circles on his/her back with your hand, or cradle their face. ¬†Tell your partner how much you love them, how you feel. ¬†Give gentle, tender kisses. ¬†Maybe whisper words in their ear so it tickles a little, maybe even causes some giggling. ¬†Touch your noses together, in an eskimo kiss. ¬†Take a moment from the hectic, crazy, wild adventures of the day to really be 110% present with your partner during this embrace. ¬†You may not even need words, because your hearts will say everything. ¬†I can’t think of a better way to recharge. ¬†Life is precious, and the little moments can really make a difference in helping to enjoy every moment of it, and treasure it. ¬†You will be surprised how intimate this can be, and how it can really help connect you when your brain is running a mile a minute.

Happiness is contagious.