• Recipes

    Pesto to the Rescue!

    So it’s happened again. You buy packs of fresh herbs for a recipe, use the three pieces of leaves each it calls for, then stash the leftovers in the crisper drawer where you forget all about it till it shrivels up and inevitably goes bad. Such a waste of food AND money but, let’s be completely honest here, haven’t we all been there?

    There are a lot of options to save those packs of herbs from wasting away in your fridge but my go to favourite option, and probably the simplest options, is making a yummy pesto out of the leftovers.

    For this recipe, I used Sage and Cilantro, but you can use any leftover herb in any variation to make this work.

    You will need:

    • Fresh herbs
    • A food processor
    • 1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
    • Salt & Pepper
    • 2 cloves of Garlic
    • 2 or 3 cloves Shallots
    • 1 Tbs. Parmesan Cheese

    Add herbs of your choice (remove stems), a clove or two of garlic, two or three cloves of shallots, salt and pepper to a food processor. process on low for a beat before adding oil as it continues to blend. Once it’s reached a pesto-like consistency, add parmesan and mix one last pulse before serving it on your favourite rice or pasta. Enjoy!

    note: Today I served mine on Jasmin rice and jumbo shrimp.

  • Crochet Patterns

    Adorable Tote Bag

    A few months back, when I first took on crocheting as a pastime, I wanted to make myself a tote bag. I ‘d searched high and low for patterns that were not only easy, but that would fit what I was looking for in a tote bag. When I didn’t find any specific pattern that would exactly fit, I decided to try to adjust and merge a few patterns I came across that I liked to make it what I was looking for. After a lot of trial and error, here is the final result which I’m exceptionally pleased with.

    Difficulty: Easy Peasy Lemon Squeazy 

    Yarn: Approx. 400 yards of Bernat Softee Chunky #6 Super Bulky 

    Used aprox 200 yards of COLOR A (“grey”) and aprox 200 yards of COLOR B (“white”).

    Hook size: 8.0mm (L)

    You’ll also need: Yarn needle & stitch marker

    Terms and Abbreviations:

    MC (magic circle)
    ST/STS (stitch/stitches)

    SL ST (slip stitch)

    SK (skip)

    CH (chain)

    SC (single crochet)

    DC (double crochet)

    SC+DC (put a SC and a DC in the same stitch)

    Notes: This bag, including its handles, is worked in a continuous, seamless round. Do not join or turn unless specifically instructed. Use a stitch marker to mark the beginning of your rounds. 

    INSTRUCTIONS

    To Begin: COLOUR A, make a magic circle; CH1 (does not count as a stitch).

    Round 1: In magic circle: 1SC, 1HDC, 10DC. (12)

    Round 2: 2DC in each ST around. (24)

    Round 3: (2DC in next ST, DC in next ST) around. (36)

    Round 4: (2DC in next ST, DC in each of the next 2 STS) around. (48)

    Round 5: (2DC in next ST, DC in each of the next 3 STS) around. (60)

    Round 6: (2DC in next ST, DC in each of the next 4 STS) around. (72)

    Switch to COLOUR B ; Fasten off COLOUR A

    Rounds 7-19: (SC+DC in next ST, SK next ST) around. (72)

    Round 20: (SC+DC in next ST, SK next ST) 35 times; 2 STS remain. 2SC in next ST; SK final ST. (72)

    Round 21: SC in each ST around. (72)

    Switch to COLOUR A ; fasten off COLOUR B.

    Rounds 21-26: SC in each ST around. (72)

    Round 27 (creating the handles): CH70. SK 20 STS; SC in each of the next 16 STS. CH70. SK 20 STS; SC in each of the next 16 STS. (32SC + 180CH) 

    Switch to COLOUR B ; Fasten off COLOUR A

    Round 28: SC in each of the 70 chains. SC in each of the next 16 STS along the top. SC in each of the next 70 chains. SC in each of the next 16 STS along the top. (172)

    To finish: SL ST to the first SC of the final round. Fasten off and weave in ends.

    Edging the Handles

    (COLOUR B) We’re going to add a SC edging inside the handles to give the handles just a little bit more strength. With the bag as is (right side out) reattach yarn in the bottom left corner of one of the handles and CH1. SC in same ST, and continue to SC in each chain stitch going up and around the inside of the handle. Join with a SL ST to the first SC. Fasten off yarn, then repeat the process on the other handle. Fasten off and weave in ends.

  • Health & Fitness

    Binge Eating and Plateaus

    I love food. No, that’s too mild of a word. I adore food, I’m obsessed with food, I’m addicted to food. There. Addicted. That’s more like it. I’m addicted to food. Once upon a time I used to find that fact difficult to confess. After all, we live in a world where it’s perfectly acceptable to be a food addict. I mean, it’s frowned upon by ‘society’ but in the real world, it’s more acceptable than being addicted to alcohol or drugs. After all, every special occasion is surrounded by the most decadent versions of food out there.

    Comfort food. 

    Everyone knows what kind of food I’m talking about. The rich, carb-filled, fatty, and decadent meals our mothers made us when we had a bad day; or the ones served during a family gathering hosted by our grandmothers, or that special fast food place where our dads would take us after school. The worst foods for our bodies are the most magical ones for our brains. We’re wired that way, or at least I am. That’s why I’ve decided that in order for me to maintain my new healthy lifestyle, I have to plan to eat badly.  

    I know what you are thinking, isn’t that kind of counter intuitive? Planning to eat badly while on a “diet” seems like setting yourself up for failure. But for me, having a day put aside where I can freely eat whatever my heart desires helps me keep on track the other 6 days of the week. 

    Now that I’m at a place in this weight-loss journey where it’s basically not moving forward no matter how much calorie restrictions and macro tracking I put on myself, this method of maintaining is keeping my eye on the prize. It’s discouraging getting on the scale and seeing little change. On a logical level I understand that I’m building muscle mass and the numbers on the scale might not being showing my progress but there’s a much more emotional level of illogical thinking on my part about this lack of visible progression on the scale. I feel like I am failing and that feeling makes me want to eat. A lot. 

    And that’s where the “bad” day rule came into place. I’ll allow my cravings to happen but only on my terms and in moderation. Not that it works all the time. I’ve had my nights where I can’t wait for that set aside day and I just go crazy eating everything I can find till I feel fulfilled. And I’m going to be completely honest, I’m rarely every regretful. Which only goes to show that I need these “breaks” from time to time. After all, it’s a known fact that most people’s problems with food are psychological and that’s definitely the case for me. But let’s save that story for another day, shall we?

    Photo by Thomas Kelley on Unsplash

  • Recipes

    Healthy & Hearty Italian Wedding Soup

    My favourite soup in a can has always been Italian Wedding soup. Only problem is, I don’t actually like canned soups because not only does the sodium give me a huge headache, but there are too many other things in there that make me feel like crap after I’ve eaten them. Plus, the taste is, well, not like homemade. So, imagine my glee when I discovered a recipe for homemade Italian wedding soup on Facebook the other day

    Now, in order to make this as healthy (and as hearty) as possible I did make a few adjustments from the original recipe which can be found here at www.delish.com

    Over the last few months I’ve had a number of people ask me to share my recipe creations and adjustments with them which I’m more than happy to always do. But since I usually just wing my meals, and when I actually do follow a recipe I never write down the changes I make, it makes it hard to share my exact creations. But now, since I have this blog, I figured I’d consciously document my cooking ( at least some of the time ) so that anyone who wants them can easily access them.

    For this recipe I decided to make it in my instant pot because it’s my new toy and I love playing with it. But the original recipe is made in a regular pot so I’ll share those directions as well for anyone who wants to make this but hasn’t gotten themselves an instant pot just yet.

    Ingredients 

    for the meatballs:

    2 lbs. ground chicken

    1/2 c. Italian bread crumbs

    1/4 c. grated parmesan (I used Kraft 100% Parmesan Light)

    2 tsp. dried oregano

    2 tsp. dried Italian spices

    1 tsp. paprika

    1 tsp. dried rosemary

    cloves garlic, minced

    large egg

    Ground Himalayan salt

    Freshly ground black pepper

     

    for the soup:

    1 medium onion, diced

    2 medium carrots, peeled and diced

    1 stalk celery, diced

    a small bunch of freshly chopped cilantro & sage

    8 c. low-sodium chicken broth (I used Campbells)

    1/2 c. small dry pasta (I used Acini di Pepe)

     4 c. baby spinach; roughly chopped

     

    Directions

        1. In a large bowl, stir ground chicken, bread crumbs, Parmesan, dried spices, garlic, and egg until combined. Season with salt, pepper. Form into meatballs approximately 1/2″ in diameter to make about 30-ish meatballs.
        2. Place meatballs on a baking sheet and bake them at 325 F for 16 mins (turning them after 8 minutes so to cook evenly on both sides.
        3. Remove meatballs from over and put aside.
        4. In a 6 quart (minimum) instant pot add carrots, celery, onions, chicken broth, cilantro and sage. set to “soup” (high pressure) for 15 minutes. Once finished, quick release steam. *For a regular pot cook till tender and fragrant; about 10- 20 minutes depending on your element heat*
        5. Add meatballs and pasta. set to soup again (high pressure) for 10 minutes. Once finished, quick release steam. *for a regular pot bring to a boil and cover and simmer for 10 minutes* 
        6. Add spinach and replace cover, leaving it on “keep warm setting” for aprox 2-5 minutes or until spinach is wilted. *for a regular pot, leave it on simmer and add the spinach. Cover and continue to simmer till spinach is wilted*
        7. Add more salt and pepper to your own taste.
        8. Serve and enjoy!

     

  • Health & Fitness,  Mental Health & Self Care

    Then & Now

    August 2017 to February 2019

    I’ve come a long way. I’m not 100% where I want to be but when I look at these pictures I’m reminded that I’m on an adventure that’s years in the making and there is no rushing it.

    Truth of the matter is, I’m told the results stay off the longer it takes to get there. I’m hoping that’s the truth because I don’t want to go back to that version of me. And that’s not because I was considered “obese” – Hell, I’m technically still considered “overweight” right now and that’s totally insane! I wear size medium, for crying out loud! Does that make sense to anyone else out there?

    In any case, the goal is to be in the zone of what is considered “healthy range” for my age and height. According to the internet that’s 145 lbs. Currently I’m 166 lbs. But that’s 166 lbs “partially toned” as apposed to 166 lbs “not toned at all.”

    See the difference??

    This pictures was taken on the day I joined the gym. I was the same weight I am right now. 166 lbs but you wouldn’t think so. The scale barely moves these days but I haven’t had my clothes fit any better!
    When I look at these pictures I can’t get over the fact that This is me! I’m healthy, I’m fit, I’m happy, and I can’t wait to see what I’ll look like another 6 months from now.

    But with all of that being said, let’s focus on my quality of life. My depression is 75% less. Like, seriously. Bipolar type 2 tends to stay in the depressed zone more often than not. Since starting my healthy lifestyle that’s completely changed. In fact, the gym is a trigger for hypomania for me. It makes me SO happy that I literally can’t come down from the high for hours! If anyone had told me that would be a fact in my life I’d laugh in their faces — Hell, I used to laugh at my psychiatrist when he’d tell me to “exercise” and “walk” to help with my depression.

    Physical aspects. My pulse has regulated, my low blood sugar episodes have ceased, my GERD has almost completely disappeared, My IBS is non-existent, I no longer have weekly yeast infections (sorry for the TMI, but it’s a fact!) I have energy to get through my days. Even the long work days!

    It’s a total 360 and I couldn’t be more proud of myself. This just might be the biggest hurdle I’ve ever had to overcome in my life so far. It’s a battle and it’s far from over but, damn, it’s amazing. <3