Friday, 28 June 2013

Long Weekends, Canada Day & BBQ Celebrations!

Ahhhh, summer. I'm not a fan of the heat, but I have to say, I love EVERYTHING else that comes along with summer. Longer nights, cold drinks, bonfires, BBQ, hang outs and best of all, the LOOOONG weekends. A time to kick back, relax and soak up the sun (or in my case, hide in the shade with my SPF 100 on). This weekend in particular is a time to celebrate our AH-mazing country and reflect on how proud I am to be a Canadian.

Now, since I started dating my hubby, we usually head up to his parent's trailer on the long weekend. Here it is a time of food, drinks, washers, swimming, boat rides, food, food and more food and friends.  I've met some pretty awesome peeps up there (we affectionately call ourselves "Trailer Trash" because we're so loving like that).

But let's get back to the food. 

I love food, and most of all I love food that are themed around BBQ season! Usually it is all fatty, bad for you, but oh-so-good. If you're trying to loose weight (or in my case, not GAIN weight) it can be tough to manage. 

My suggestion? STILL EAT IT, just be selective with how much you put on your plate. I won't lie to you, when it comes to BBQ's and social gatherings, I have a tendency to go whole hog. I dream about potato salad and pasta salad and all the incredible dishes that come along with a potluck style get together. My plan? Before you get to the buffet table, decide what you really want to eat. Make sure you put salad on HALF your plate (I mean salad w/ lettuce people, not macaroni or potato salad). That leave 1/4 of your plate for the meat option (Burger, Hotdog, Chicken etc.) and 1/4 for all the fatty, yummy, amazing options. With only 1/4 the plate left to fill, you better bet your hat you pick the bestest, most yummy additional option.

Since I've been moving, Zumba-ing and just generally trying to get my sh*t together, I didn't have time to MAKE/DO any of the below for our upcoming Canada Day festivities, but I wanted to share some of my FAVE BBQ Pin's that I've seen over the last little bit (or things that have made me drool) in case you need some last minute ideas!

If you like something, click the photo, it will link back to the original source!

The Salad:

I have a strong love/hate relationship with salad. Sometimes I can't get enough, and other times, it makes me want to barf. This salad however, is a NEVER miss. I don't have any amazing pictures to show you, but I promise you, no one can say no to this salad. It's my Aunt Kaethe recipe and she makes it for almost every family holiday. I look forward to it EVERY TIME!

Spring Mix and Strawberry Salad 
By Aunt Kaethe
1/2 tsp salt
1 green onion (finely chopped)
1/4 cup vegetable oil (I use olive oil)
Pinch of paprika
4 tsp red wine vinegar
1Tbsp worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp poppsy seed

Caramelized Almonds:
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp water

2 cups of sliced strawberries
1 bag of spring mix (I like the DOLE mix, personally)

In a frying pan, combine the almonds with the sugar and the water and mix until evenly coated. Stir Fry them for about 6-8 mins until they are a light golden brown. Set aside.

In a bottle or jar (Mason Jars work well) combine all of the dressing ingredients and shake until combined.

Put spring mix in a large bowl, and top with the almonds & strawberries. Pour a small amount dressing over top, and toss. Have a taste and apply more if needed. This dressing is VERY strong, so you don't want to put TOO much on.

I suggest doubling the batch though, one bag rarely is enough, and if you have left over dressing, it keeps in the fridge for about a week!

The Potato Salad:

This one I haven't made personally, but it looks SO dern good, I just wanted to post the photo so we can all drool over it together (photo links to recipe)

Fully Loaded Baked Potato Salad

 The "Other Starch"

No BBQ is complete without CORN ON THE COB. If you're lucky enough to live near a farmers market, go buy your corn there. It is MILES above what you can get in a grocery store, especially when it is in season (August to early September, I believe). Also, if you can, do the corn on the grill. We started doing this just a few years back, and it makes a WORLD of a difference. It's making me salivate just thinking about it.

If you're feeling REALLY crazy and want to take a step outside of just butter & salt, try out this Chilie and Lime Grilled corn on the cob! YUM!

Grilled Corn on the Cob w/ Chili and Lime
The Meat:

Obviously burgers, hotdogs and chicken are staples at a BBQ, but I happened across this AMAZING recipe for Teriyaki Turkey Burgers.
Teriyaki Turkey Burgers
First, I love anything Teriyaki and second, I've really grown to love ground turkey. We've made many things with ground turkey recently, so I'm deffo going to try this out next.

FINALLY, my personal favourite:


Luckily for me, Pinterest has a PLETHORA of Canada Day themed desserts. Here are a couple of my faves (photos link to original source):

You had me at Kit Kat!
 This dessert goes along with my obesession of dipping everything in chocolate:

Canada Day Oreo Pops
And even though it isn't specifically Canada Day themed, I still think these look delish and would make an AMAZING treat to bring to a BBQ (so much so that I might make them and bring them along with me this weekend!):

Red Velvet Brownies w/ Buttercream Frosting
Hope you found a little bit of inspiration here for you BBQ this weekend (or some that are upcoming!) If I make any of the above treats, I'll be sure to share!!!

HAPPY CANADA DAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, 17 June 2013

Peanut Butter & Banana Oatmeal Cookies with Chocolate Chips

It always starts like this:


I'm afraid my husband is a little bit addicted to cookies...and my baking. I don't mean this in a "toot toot"my own horn kind of way either. He's like this now because he's used to having fresh baked goods in the house on a regular basis since I've started this blog. He's a monster of my own making...a COOKIE monster, if you will. BUDDUM CHA!

Moving on.

After this outbreak of "ME WANT COOKIES" I ask him what kind he would like. It's never something simple like "Chocolate Chip" or "Peanut Butter" either (again, this is my own fault, I know). He says "Something with Banana and Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chips" I say "Like Muffins?" "LEEEEESE I WANT COOKIESSSSS"

(P.S. I'm not exhaggerating THAT much here)

So, I head to the trusty interwebs and type in: Peanut Butter, Banana, Chocolate Chip, Cookies and low and behold, a recipe pops up! Gotta love the Google. I take a quite peak at it and see that I have everything it calls for so, off I go! I didn't have the peanut butter chips they called for, so I used real PB instead.

Oh sweet Jesus in Heaven these are good. I'm talking, quite possibly my more favouristist cookies ever. They are soft, moist, ooey & gooey and (somewhat) healthy! I changed This will be my new go to cookie recipe, for sure!

Peanut Butter & Banana Oatmeal Cookies with Chocolate Chips
Original Recipe from

1 1/2 cups All Purpose Flour
1 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp Salt
3/4 cup Butter at Room Temp (calls for unsalted, I use salted)
1 cup Sugar
1 cup Mashed RIPE Bananas (about 2 large bananas)
1 Egg
2 cups Old Fashioned Oats (I used quick oats, worked just as well for me)
1/2 cup Peanut Butter
1/2 cup Chocolate Chips (I used milk chocolate, my fave)

In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon & salt and set aside.

Get your mixer suited up with the paddle attachment (pictured here, just because I love it so much):
Cream together the butter and the sugar until fluffy (about 2.5-3 mins). Beat in the banana, egg and peanut butter. Mix in the dry ingredients until JUST combined followed by the oats (again, until JUST combined). Next, use a spatula to stir in the chocolate chips:
Now, the hardest part: cover with cling wrap and put in the fridge for about 30mins. DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP. This step almost KILLED my hubby, but believe me, it`s important!

At around the 20min mark, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line your baking sheets with parchment paper (or tinfoil, as in my case) and use either a cookie scoop or 2 tablespoons to scoop cookie dough onto your baking sheets:
I made my cookies fairly large, so you can make yours a bit smaller if you like!
Pop them into the oven and bake for about 20 mins or until the edges turn a golden brown colour. Let them cool for 5 mins then transfer to a cooling rack to finish cooling.

These are BEST enjoyed warm, but were quite tasty the next day!


- Lisa
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Friday, 14 June 2013

If I Had a Million Dollars...

This past month or so has been pretty damn crazy. Between work (work and more work), streaking, planning an event and getting ready to move, my head has been in a bit of a buzz. Unfortunately, even though I'm tired as arse, this constant stimulation from life leads to some sleepless nights.

Sometimes when I can't sleep, I think about all the amazing things I have in my life (which I've talked about here). Other times, I like to indulge in a lil game I call "If I had a million dollars."

**Insert Barenaked Ladies Tune HERE **

Now, before I explain my crazy & outlandish desires, I do want to say that I am so damn grateful for everything that I have in my life. I (will soon) have an amazing new Townhouse, in a wonderful area, that I share with my amazing hubby. I have a truly wonderful job and really, there isn't anything I really go without.

Also, if I had a million dollars, I would obviously give back to my community and charities near and dear to my heart. I wouldn't be completely selfish with it, I PROMISE (you hear that Lottery Gods???)

All that aside...there are 2 ways that I play this game.

FIRST - What I would do if I didn't have to work (and didn't have to worry about $$):

1. Open up a bake shop - over the last 6 months or so, I have really re-discovered my love of baking. When I was growing up, one of my favourite things to do with my grandmother was make & bake delicious Mennonite treats. I continued to love making things, but as a poor, tired/lazy student, I didn't have the energy to make things nor did I have the tools to do so. Now that I DO have the tools (and let's be honest, PINTEREST for inspiration) it's one of my favourite things to do (and I'm actually pretty good at it). I would love to have a little shop to call my own and spread my love of treats with the world!

2. Open up a fitness studio - now, my goal with this would be to have a place where I (and my 2 fitness buddies AT & KWB) could help women (and men) like me who aren't exactly fitness junkies, find a way to enjoy exercise. I wouldn't have weight training machines or shouty bootcamp instructors (NOTHING against these instructors, at all, it just isn't my thing). I would focus on fun dance classes, running groups etc all geared at people wanting to get healthy without going to the gym. Ideally, I would also like to offer some sort of "Life Coaching" that would be tied into the whole program. I'm a big believer in the fact that if you are struggling with your weight and motivation to get moving, chances are, you have some life baggage that you need to deal with in tandem.

Essentially, I would take what I'm trying to accomplish my blog & make it happen in REAL LIFE and not just on the interwebs. 

SECOND: What would my DREAM house look like?

I have Pinterest and HGTV (Million Dollar Rooms, House of Bryan, Income Property etc. etc.) to thank for this second part of my game: If I had LOTS of money to play with, what would my home look like? 

Kitchen (all photos link back to original source/pinterest pin)

Next, I would have a Library that looked like this:

A closet that looked like THIS (and naturally filled with clothes like this too):

And a laundry room that looks like this:

I want THIS tree house in my backyard:

And THIS for my future, hypothetical children, just because I think it's cool & I would have wanted a room like this as a kid!

 My dream home would also be located on the water, so I could wake up to this:
And since we are dreaming, I'd like my wine cellar to look like this:

I mean really, I don't ask for much. :)

Like I said before, I am truly grateful for EVERYTHING that I have in my life and if I never get any of the things above, that wouldn't bother me in the slightest, but it really is fun to dream!

What would YOU do if you had a million dollars? 

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Motivation (or lack thereof)...

Do you ever have one of those days where you're just not feeling it? It's hard to get out of bed, you couldn't care less about what your hair/make-up/face/clothes look like? You get to work and you sit there, listless and wanton. Your email goes "boop, boop, boop" and you just stare at it, hoping it will go away? Then you realize that when you go home you still have to RUN because you've committed to this crazy streaking thing...

Yea, that was my Monday. (I'm writing this post today because clearly I didn't get to in on Monday)

This also wasn't just a case of the "Mondays" either. I'm talking PURE, unmotivated mess. I've just been going and going and going and going for the past month or so and in that moment (when I woke up on Monday, that is) I realized there was NO end in sight. Work is absolutely bananas (and will be until at least September), we're moving in about 3 weeks, I have a wedding that I'm in (WHOOT, ALMOST THERE GUYS!) I have a Zumba event coming up (I've already gone on about it to you, but click HERE for more info, it will be RADDDDD!) and on top of that, I will be selling my treats for the first time at said event, so I have to plan that out and bake them in the middle of the move and make them pretty AND delish AND, AND, AND, AND...

*takes deep breath*

So Monday morning, staring at the ceiling seemed much more appealing than getting up and facing the day. Luckily for me, Molly doesn't care about how I'm feeling and she came BOUNDING into the room, jumped on the bed and forced me to get up and take her out (Hubs was in the shower). So I walk out, blinking my bleary eyes and stand in the sun while Molly does her biz.

Got to work, coffeed up (that's a word, I swear) and went about my day. Not going to lie, it was a tough day. Since work is so busy, it forced me to keep going, but it was tough nonetheless.

Flash forward to sitting on the 401 in traffic: "Should I run today? Should I not? I don't really want to. Besides, I'm tired and it was a long day. UGH I know I should, but I don't want to" and on and on and on.

Luckily, I didn't have to make dinner because we went over to the in-laws for dinner. Then, we had to go pick up some patio stones for the new place that we bought from a lovely couple on Kijiji (WIN!) As we were driving back home, Molly in tow, I thought to myself: JUST GO.

I would be lying if I told you I went for my run...I didn't. In this case, I really couldn't muster up the energy to go. HOWEVER, hubby and I DID take Molly for a really nice, long walk. It was wonderful.

When I got home, I settled down and started to work and ACTUALLY got work done. I actually HAD motivation to do it too. Since I did that, I actually took some stress off myself. After that, I did come choreography for the upcoming event. After that, I did some dishes! HAHA okay, that last part is a lie, I didn't do dishes :P

So what is the point of all this, you may ask?

When you're feeling unmotivated, it may be because you are feeling overwhelmed. Life as a grown up is chaotic and the pace, stress & to do list is never ending. When you look at the days ahead, it can look like too much and you wonder how on earth ANY of it will get done in time.

When you're in this moment, do the following:
  1. Breath.
  2. Make a list of what you MUST get done that day**
  3. Where possible, ask for HELP (Hubby made lunches for us & gave me hugs)
  4. Go for a walk - I know this seems counter productive since you're low on time, but getting out into the fresh air for even 10 mins can get the blood flowing and the mind settled
  5. Breath again
  6. Tackle ONE item on your list at a time - when you look at the whole list, the stress will come back and panic will arise
  7. When you are done that item CROSS IT OFF YOUR LIST - this is the BEST feeling ever
  8. Breath again.
  9. Start on your next task
  10. Any time you start to feel overwhelmed or stressed out, BREATH, get up, walk around and drink some water or tea
**At any given time, I actually have 2 or 3 lists. One that is a MUST DO for the day, and the other 2 are things that are on going.

Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not the most organized person in the world (far from it). HOWEVER, when it comes to managing my stress level, I find this really helps a lot!

What do you do to keep yourself in check?