Friday, February 28, 2014

Enjoy Your Weekend

I saw the above most disturbing thing at the store today!! Ok the first cart is mine filled with organic and non organic fruits and veggies. I loaded them on the belt to pay for all my goods; about $150 worth of groceries (I usually shop at the farmers market but today I was roped in by a couple of coupons I had). The lady behind me loaded her stuff up next. The first think she put on the cart was about 5 or 6 large bottles of vitamins; multi, magnesium, B and others. Now mind you I am not a snooper (contradiction here since this is exactly what I did) but I kept watching this lady unload more crap so much so I took a sadly blurry picture because I was flabbergasted! Ok back to her load of stuff...after the huge pills of vitamins came the Doritos, and Fritos and krispy kream donuts, a bag of cookies, taco stuff and something that looked like sausage? I kept staring at her and she must of thought I was crazy but I just kept thinking maybe if she bought less processed food she wouldn't need so many vitamins? I was SOOO nosy in fact I stayed behind to see what her bill came to, about $150...I guess you get what you pay for

Kids Juice Plus+ Chewables all laid out ready for consumption. The first row is one of each for mister (1yr) the second is two of each for Bubbie (4yrs) and the last is two of the red/green for Kiddo (10) she is refusing the purple just to be a stinker ;)

KIMCHI over Eggs on a tort

Rainbow spread at a Wine and Wellness Party my friend thru to help support me!

Baba Indian Buffet was a much needed break in between volleyball and soccer.

Salad every day!

I am the best at peeling these in one peel. Go in thru the butt (thats what she said, hahaha) but really poke a whole thru the bottom not the top part that connects the fruit to the tree. Perfect peel every time!

Kids tucked in for a long winter nap...I tried to tell them they all have their own beds.

Linky Time

I sort of think this is stupid?! I know to restrain my child you don't need to make a thousand laws to tell me how, and I love being able to travel with my less than two year old for free...

Just a couple of food regulations the government likes to gloss over.

I am always wondering what apps to download for the kids?

Hard to imagine it right now with it being so cold but we are already booking camps for the summer. Overnight for the kiddo at Camp Ernst and day camp at the Zoo for the bubbie (his first time!)

The life of a working mom, and tell me again why I decided to get a side job?

Do your kids collect anything? I collected rocks when i was little, the kiddo currently has a thing for pandas.

This takes paper dolls to a whole new level!

What do you think of the FDA's new nutrition labels?

Live Life to the Plus+ this weekend! 

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Sweatpants and Smoothies Juice Plus+ Party

Oh I think this was my favorite party yet, or do I say that every time? Either way it was so nice to be relaxed and enjoy each others company without the stress of looking good or being on our game. I guess I had to be on my game since I was presenting, but that is getting easier and easier. The information flows more smoothly for me now. I definitely don't know everything but I feel more comfortable with the information that we can either come up with an answer or I can look it up and figure it out. 

This time I had a small learning curve only because I couldn't get my presentation power point to work on the TV so I had to wing it with the books which actually are almost more helpful. Same information just presenting with a little bit more reading. Which I would like if someone was presenting to me, so that I could tune them out and in as needed and read the information. Not that my talk wasn't so riveting that people were on the edge of their seat! Hahaha I think everyone got some great information, loved the smoothies and energy bites and at the very least walked away with a new love for the green smoothie (yes I found the perfect recipe!)

PS that is not my handwriting above, although mine is pretty bad as well. My 10 year old Kiddo helped out with all the planning and placement of everything. 

We made three different smoothies; berry, peanut butter and chocolate, and green using the vanilla and chocolate Juice Plus Complete Proteins. The berry and chocolate were good, but nothing you couldn't figure out how to whip up in a second. But the GREEN smoothie was something to write home about. I have tried a million green smoothie recipes and ALL have been a bust for me, too earthy, too gross, too yucky! Half of them didn't even turn out green but more of a brown color, I was always left disappointed. I think you really have to be a fan of greens to like a green smoothie..and as much as I like veggies I am not a fan of drinking them. Well until Saturday when I found the perfect mix :) the key for me was the veggies...

Green Smoothie:

  • 1 scoop Vanilla JP+ Complete protein
  • 3-4 leaves of Kale (I used lacinato kale but I assume any kind would do the trick)
  • 2 stalks of celery (I tried to stick with the inner parts since they aren't as stringy)
  • 1/2 green apple, skin removed
  • 1/2 cup frozen mango (have to have something frozen)
  • 3 tbls of plain greek yogurt 
  • 1/2 cup or more of apple juice
Throw it all into a blender and pulse, chop blend the heck out of it! You can add more apple juice if it needs to be thinned out a bit so I would wait to add that at the end. 

Simple and easy, I wont lie I believe it is all about the KALE for me. I have tried spinach, collard greens, coconut milk, avocado, everything! They all just tasted too green for me, and maybe my green smoothie doesn't have enough greens? But it was green enough for me and everyone loved it. The kids were very hesitant to try it because of its very bright color but once they took a little sip they were downing it like a milk shake. Yummy.

Since I had some delicious smoothies I thought people might want something more than fruit to eat, so I made a batch of energy bites. I basically adapted my original Chewy Granola Bar to a bite sized protein packed snack!

Chocolate Energy Bites:

  • 1 scoop Dutch Chocolate JP+ Complete Protein
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1 tbls butter
  • 1 good squirt of honey
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • handful or more of mini chocolate chips if desired
Put the first three ingredients together in a big bowl. Melt the sugars(butter, honey, brown) together in the microwave or on the stove and pour over top. Mix with a spatula since the sugar will be hot and make sure everything gets coated. Keep mixing and mixing and it will start to form a ball all on it's own. Once you get to this stage you can either roll it into bite sized balls or press it flat on a greased pan to cool. I usually refrigerate it for an hour to let it firm up. If you choose to press it flat then after it has firmed you can cut it into kid sized bites. A trick I read somewhere for cutting perfect squares is; cut it in half one way, then cut your halves in half the same way and so on and so forth then do the same thing the other direction. It really works!

These were also delicious and something a bit more filling to have on hand. I had to tell the kids that they couldn't eat them all in one sitting. So all in all, it was a great party. The more I learn about Juice Plus+ the more I am so glad that I started selling it. I was scared at first that I didn't want to be pushing some crazy pyramid scheme product and rope my friends and family into buying something that they don't want. But what has been so comforting is that one, I believe in the product. I have seen how it has helped my family to feel better and stay healthy. Two, the unconditional support my sponsor has been with all my ups and downs and waning excitement at times. Not just her but other higher up distributors of the JP+ product. I am currently having individual genuine conversations with doctors and health professionals like they are my friends and in fact I really feel like they are! And three, lastly, every time I talk with someone new about JP+ I see that I am not the only one out there looking for healthy alternatives for my family. That people in general are wanting to be healthier but like me struggle to find the balance. I feel good that I can share what I think has been a huge help to our family with others and maybe they want to sign up or maybe this info becomes a catalyst in their life to start eating healthier. 

At the end of the day that is what I hope everyone takes home. Our bodies are what we feed it! Eat more WHOLE foods and less processed ones. 

Friday, February 21, 2014

Enjoy your weekend

The snow is finally starting to melt! We actually had two days that we were able to play outside. The only sad thing about the snow melting is how ugly it makes everything? The city currently looks dirty, like grow yucky, mucky, dirty. I am hopefully for more warm days and some spring showers to clear the cobwebs out and bring on the little bit of green grass peeking out in my lawn. 

Shark Girl

Throwing a completely last minute hodgepodge of a Juice Plus+ party tomorrow, Sweatpants and Smoothies. I had a couple of friends that wanted to know more information but really wanted to go to one of my parties rather than someone else's home or and informational last minute party it is! I am actually kind of excited about the concept since I LOVE the Complete Protein that JP+ offers. Basically I told everyone to roll out of bed in whatever they have on and come on over to my house to try some yummy shakes. They are such an easy way to start the day and a complete meal replacement. Don't worry I still love my eggs. See below, sunny side up egg with cheddar cheese (all I had) over baby spinach with a light  garlic vinaigrette. 

Linky time:

Quick steps to fixing the way we eat.

Sign this petition to make my favorite cracker Ritz GMO free :)

My mother had breast cancer and cervical cancer, it was amazing how it transformed her body. This is not my mother but a braver soul able to show the world that we are more than just our looks.

Since my pictures stink, here are some better food porn pics

Easter isn't as far away as you think. This is a much better alternative to candy as treats.

Two of my favorite daily blogs to read: ohdeardrea and The Daily Tay

If you are headed out to eat, I gave ASH a try, let me know what you think?

Make sure to eat your recommended 7-13 daily servings of Fruits and Veggies this weekend!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

ASH a Night Out in Review

The hubs may be away on business but I was lucky enough to secure a babysitter and enjoy myself for a girls night out! There is a group of about ten or so ladies that tries to get together at least once a month. We are a mixed group so some are hanging out all the time but some of us only get to see each other this one night out. It is sort of perfect for our busy lifestyles with kids and work and such. I mean not that we are old but none of us are headed out for ragers every weekend like we used too. I think the biggest event we talked about was a play date or ballet class for the littles. We all lead very exciting lives, hehehe. For dinner this month we chose a new place ASH. It takes the place of where Cumin used to be in Hyde Park (not a big loss there) owned and run by the same people. 

Borrowed this from the
 It was a perfect night to go, the place wasn't very busy so our group of 8 should have been easy to accommodate. I started my night with a dirty martini with blue cheese stuffed olives (sorry no pic). I will say they forgot the dirty part of the martini but where happy to bring me a little cup of the olive juice to season my own drink. Not a great start but this momma of three was very happy to be out with some good friends. 

The atmosphere was a bit dark inside. You could tell that they really just slapped some paint on the old Cumin and called it something new. I've also never been fond of the big wall going thru the center splitting the whole place? Also the chalk board signs are very in right now. So the place was perfectly trendy. I mean even the name ASH...The menu was mostly burgers, or anything you could cook on a grill. I am not fond of paying $15 for a burger but I get it if it is a phenomenal burger, and their choices looked pretty awesome. Luckily with so many people we all got a variety of items.

The Wedge Salad:
Crispy Iceberg + Artisan Blue 
+ Cornbread Crouton + Bacon Vinaigrette 
+ Grape Tomato + Pickled Asparagus
This was nothing to write home about. A pretty average salad, but it's a wedge so what did you expect. I will say that the cornbread croutons were pretty awesome and something new and delicious. I could eat those all by themselves. 

Warm Mushroom:
Shaved Brussel Sprouts + Goat Cheese 
+ Spiced Pistachios + Wild Mushrooms
+ Smoked Garlic + Sherry
This was actually my favorite thing that was ordered and I didn't even order it! I only got one bit but that one bit was delicious. For this alone and a beer on tap I would go back. 

Short Ribs + Fries (poutine)
Ricotta + Fresh Mozzarella 
+ Bacon Gravy + Herbs
This was pretty delicious as well. They also have homemade ketchup and whole grain mustard for dipping. All this poutine needed was a pouched egg on top! Now if I had to compare it to Senate's poutine this is a loser, the fries just weren't crispy enough to hold up. Was it good, yes, was it a home run, no. Would I order a fat plate of yummy goodness again, probably. Maybe I can ask for the fries to be well done? Maybe I am a fry snob?

City Chicken
Pork Tenderloin + Sweet Onion 
+ Pilsner Gravy + Burnt Lemon
Some one explain to me why they call this "City Chicken*"? It's not chicken and that was confusing and it was not delicious. It wasn't bad it just wasn't anything to write home about. *updated with link to what city chicken really is, I guess this is a thing...HA the more you know :)

Burger Seven
Short Ribs + Candied Bacon + Fonduta + 
Truffled Egg + Arugula

This is where our story gets interesting. All my lovely friends like there burger cooked a little bit more than usual, a med well to well kind of group. Which is fine, I think at a fine dinning restaurant you should be able to order anything well and still have it be delicious. Well my lovely friend to my right ordered her burger medium well and well it was pink. I am sorry but medium well should not be pink (maybe at the very center a thin sliver) but not the whole thing. So she obviously sent it back because she just didn't feel comfortably eating it. Totally an exceptable thing to do, but sadly the waitress right away gave her the stink eye. Then sadly the kitchen decided to refire the whole order. This means they expected to cook a medium well burger quickly and get it out to her before we were all done eating?! I honestly think they should have just warmed it in the oven or dare I say microwave it real quick? Yes that may have taken away from some of the delciousness and juiciness but at least it would have gotten to her faster. So needless to say she did not end up eating dinner but watched the rest of us enjoy our meals. big sad face :( They tried to make it right and just missed the mark, I think it was more the waitress then anything else. We are a pretty fun group of girls and think that maybe there was a better way to go about it? 

But all in all everyone elses food came out ok. Everyone enjoyed there food, no one was blown away and dying to come back, number four was a hit. The whole place and menu felt a little bit like maybe they were trying too hard? They have only been open for a month or so, maybe they are still finding their footing? So for now I am not running back, but I am sure when summer hits since this happens to be a quick walk from my home that I will be back to try it at least one more time. I mean come on a $15 burger has got to be delicious!

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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

A Weekend in Pictures

This weekend brought more snow. I wont lie I really love the snow. I mean if it is going to be cold it might as well be snowing, right? But at this particular time we are all snowed out. I have run out of ideas to keep the kids occupied indoors. The wide age range (10,4 &1) which usually is not a bother becomes a bother when you are stuck inside. Little legos can't be used, art activities become harder, baby shows are no fun, and constant bickering of wanting alone time. We did trek outside for a little bit and walk around, walk the dogs and such. But again the age difference played a part, the one year old while he would love to be outside all day long, was frozen stiff and needed to defrost inside. Even thru a large protest I knew he had to come in and I left the other two out to freeze for a bit longer. 

Inside it was more of this...Is my house the only one that is a wreck at all moments of the day? If I had my life together more maybe I would have done some projects that need to get done around the house. But every time the weekend comes and I start to get motivated. I just want to sit on the floor and play with the kids and do absolutely nothing at all. I work all week I just want to relax on the weekend. 

So when stuck inside, mom eats. Like pesto and sriracha on eggs. And perfect surf and turf with Parmesan peas. I can't get enough of Mister's little hands on that perfectly cooked new york strip! He loves him some meat and peas.  

My new addiction is these little bad boys, edemame. Whole food sells them already shelled and boiled in salt. They are like the perfect snack or protein addition to any salad!

I'm sure I could think of something more substantial to say, but I will leave that for tomorrow. Today I just want to look at pretty pictures eat some yummy food and think about the weekend, again. I will work on getting some better inside ideas for this weekend. Although the forecast shows a balmy 45 degrees headed our way! Whew what a heat wave. hahaha

Friday, February 14, 2014

Enjoy Your Weekend

Happy Valentines Day if you are into that sort of thing! From my Facebook feed you would think it is Christmas morning. Shots of everyone's kids and all the stuff they got for valentines day and stuff they are taking to school that was thoughtfully picked out from the drug store or handmade from something they saw on Pinterest. I mean we all know this is a commercial holiday, heck they all are pretty much at this point. But you know the economy has picked up with they way everyone seems to have gone all out for the day.

Now let me not lie and make it seem like I have not given into the love fest, remember contradictions. Last year I was super on top of making the day special for the kids, starting with homemade pop tarts. But this year, not so much. I had no desire to even get out of bed today. Tired, over thinking stuff and well having a small pity party for myself lately. Thankfully though the hubs woke up bright and early went and worked out and his gift to me was waking the kids up and getting them breakfast. It was just a small act, but it made a huge difference in my morning. He even had the above flowers sent to my office yesterday. Lets see how fast I can kill them?

Happy stay home and fold the laundry day :)

Happy sneak into your brothers bed day!

Happy eat your eggs over lettuce, steak, red chili and pickled garlic day!

Link Time

Had Planned to make a ninja turtle version of these for the Bubbie, but his school decided not to allow treats this year, so lazy mom went with store bought boring ones 

What are schools feeding our kids?!

I really want to go to this bacon festival!

These parents obviously love their kids more than I do.

Quick reference list of non GMO foods.

And because we all want to eat heart shaped crap

Really Canada?! Free beer for Canadian's at the Olympics

Am I the only one that doesn't care that Barbie is on the cover of Sports Illustrated?

Here's to shaking off the bad mojo and having a great weekend!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Kindness and Cookies

My husband got me thinking this weekend about kindness; do on to others as you would wish them to do to you kind of stuff. In my head I am always the first to think of the other guy and donate to all the right charities. We give clothing away and stuff away, food drives and dinner shares. But given an actual situation where someone is in need right in front of me how would I react? I always assumed that I would step up and I do think that I do usually, but this weekend I was proved a bit wrong.

PS Hubs is not the one in the Bill Cosby Sweater
We did like everyone else and their kids did and went and saw the Lego movie (PS it was awesome) and as we were leaving the theater we saw a lady in her car stuck in the ice and snow. My husband asked if we should stop and help, and sad to admit this but, I said for him to drive on. We had all the kids bundled in the car, bubbie had missed his nap and already had one melt down and dinner time was approaching; excuse, excuse, excuse. I just didn't think we could handle any more in our day. So like a good husband he drove on to the light and left the lady thinking that someone else would stop and help her. Nothing else was said it was a non issue, or so I thought.

As we sat at that light, traffic built up and we had to sit longer than usual, when the light finally turned green for us to go my husband whips the car around like he was enraged/deranged?! I thought that he was upset at something I had said or the kids had done, bubbie was still having a fit in the back seat. He WAS enraged, angered that no one was stopping to help this lady and he had just driven past her too. He swung the car around and parked right next to her hopped out of the car without saying a word and started pushing her car. And then another car pulled over to help. And then my kids watched and cheered for daddy as he helped the lady get unstuck. The simple kindness of strangers working together.

The hubs hoped back into the car, a weight seemed to be lifted off of him now and we moved on with our day not a word said about it. But everyone was smiling.

These little acts of kindness are important and even more important for our children to see us doing them. I know that my husband saw that lady in distress and saw me or one of his sisters, nieces. Sometimes we have to act because no one else will and I am ashamed to say that I just believed that someone else would pick up the slack. Maybe I more ashamed that no one else did? The hubs showed me that you have to be the first to act, never assume that someone else will. A small act of kindness isn't an inconvenience. We all learned a lesson that day, and even if my kids still fight over their toys maybe these acts will stick with them and they will be the first to act next time.

Oh and we made cookies.

Coconut Chocolate Chip

1 1/2 sticks of butter, softened
1/2 cup firm packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
Add in:
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla
12 oz non sweetened coconut flakes
2/3 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
Add in:
12 oz bag of mini chocolate chips ( or regular but mini are my favorite)

Mix all the wet ingredients until well creamed, then ad you first set of "add ins" one at a time, making sure each is mixed before moving on. In a separate bowl mix all you dry ingredients well then slowly incorporate these into your original wet group. I pour about 1/2 a cup at a time. (should look like the first pic)
Then add you chocolate chips (you could really add anything here or nothing at all, 2nd pic)

Drop by spoonfuls onto cookie sheets in a 350 degree oven, bake for about 10 minutes or until brown. These will come out crisp and chewy and not as coconutty as you would think. 

Then, and this is the important part, share these cookies. Pass on a little kindness. 

Friday, February 7, 2014

Enjoy Your Weekend Less Links More Pics

This is weird to talk about here but I need to vent for a second. All of a sudden things have gotten tight with our budget. We and by that I mean me, are usually very good savers and for some reason I let our budget get away from me at the end of last year. We also had some unusual expenses pop up; new roof, some orthodontics, and well life in general. I guess it was just us feeling a bit comfortable and me not being the crazy saver. Also my son is at a new school this year that is basically double what we were paying last year..I don't think I adjusted our monthly budget correctly and well here we are breaking into the savings a little bit to cover everything. Not the end of the world but man do I hate to use it. I LOVED having that huge nest underneath me and now it is dwindling. We have other investments and money coming in. I am just complaining I guess. Tighten things up a bit and then move on, no big deal right :) It's the snows fault.

Happy Freaking Friday! See even the kids need a hand up, sometimes.

Links and Pics: 

I need to exerciser my patients more when raising my Bubbie. I can see in him already a tendency to lash out at people when he is angry or doesn't understand something or can't do something or isn't getting his way. I fear that maybe this is in part to my lack of patience with him sometimes, being the middle child, Kiddo is so easy and Mister hogs my attention?

Lemon, Butter chicken, freaking delicious and so easy! 

My daughter and my socks never match, but she takes it to a whole new level. 

Plate is half veggies and liquid fruit counts right?

Being able to butcher my own meat is awesome. $50 beef tenderloin broke down into 12 steaks, stir fry meat and scraps for broth equals 4 meals at 14.50 for filet minion!

We got Bubbie a strider when he was 2.5 and he was riding by 3.5 easy no problem, no training wheel transition. Now mister has been walking this bike around the house at 1.5...will he ride sooner, is he the next big BMX rider? Maybe but for now he whines and grunts a lot until we let him ride. 

Kale chips, the one veggie Bubbie does not complain about eating. Wash well, dry better, remove stems, cut into bit size pieces, really and I mean really cover with olive oil (get your hands in there and rub each piece to make sure it is covered), we do garlic salt and lime juice then back in the oven at 400 for about 30 minutes but watch them. Also make sure each leaf has it's own space, don't just pile them on a tray or you will have soggy chips, which no one likes. 

Enjoy the weekend, I am making these cookies sometime soon!