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Showing posts from June, 2015

Warm Spinach Salad with Sauteed Mushrooms, Red Onion and Blue Cheese

This salad rocks.  It is so yummy and flavourful, yet incredibly healthy too!  Spinach is, of course, a nutrition superstar, as are mushrooms, and you only need a little bit of blue cheese because it packs so much punch.  I've already made this salad a bunch of times and its a favorite.  Maybe not the most 'summery' salad, but so good, I'm happy to eat it all year round.

Organic baby spinach

2 lbs mushrooms, sliced
1 red onion, diced
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup sherry vinegar
2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce (regular or vegan)
1 can tomato paste
Salt & pepper, to taste

Crumbled blue cheese (about 2 tbsp. per serving)

Saute onions, mushrooms and garlic with vinegars and Worcestershire sauce for 3-4 minutes.  Turn heat down to medium low and allow mushrooms to cook down.  Add tomato paste and season to taste.  If too thick, add water as desired.  Spoon desired amount of spinach and top with crumbled blue cheese.

Makes 2-4 servings.

I have submi…


Boy the past few days have been a real mixed bag! 
Of course, I have to mention that FINALLY same-sex marriage has been legalized across the U.S.!  Its about freakin' time!

It also happens to be pride week in Toronto, and unfortunately, along with all the rainbow flags came torrential rain on the day of the big parade this weekend.  In fact, it poured all weekend.  There were a whole lot of very disappointed folks!

For me, however, the weather was okay.  The antibiotics have me feeling pretty lousy so having to stay in and not do very much was a good thing.  I bailed on my book club but did push myself to do everything else.  Its just this sort of blech feeling which sometimes worsens to full-blown nausea.  I am not surprised, I often get this way from antibiotics.

Nevertheless, I an ecstatic that my girls will grow up in a world with more acceptance of diversity.  While there is still a long way to go, major strides have been made since I was born in the 70s, that's for sur…

School's Out for Summer

Oh my, its been quite a week!

Tuesday I had to take Little A to the dentist to get some fillings (insert mom guilt here).  At her last check-up they found spots on her 2 molars that are just coming in. "Its not my fault," she told me, "I'm not the one who brushes my teeth!"  So true.

I was a wee bit concerned because when Big A was 4 she had 4 cavities (but at least they were in her baby teeth) and she howled through the whole procedure, the laughing gas did nothing.  But Little A was a total trouper.  She didn't make a single peep, she lay still and the whole thing was over super quickly.  When they stood her up she was in a big of a laughing-gas trance, so they gave her a juice box to stop her from getting too woozy.  Man, though, was she in the best mood.  I gotta get me some of that laughing gas!

This week I also developed gruesome infection in my right middle finger.  How, you ask?  I have no idea. But I will admit I have a bad habit of chewing on the…

Lifeway Kefir: Product Review

Lets talk kefir.  And I am not referring to the Sutherland variety.  Ha ha! I'm talking about the super nutritious probiotic dairy food. More specifically, it is a fermented milk that is low in lactose and high in beneficial bacteria which may include Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacterium bifidum, Streptococcus thermophilus, Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus, Lactobacillus helveticus, Lactobacillus kefiranofaciens, Lactococcus lactis, and Leuconostoc species.  Probiotics promote healthy digestion and immune function.

Lifeway Kefir is a family run company from Chicago that has brought their products to Canada.  They generously sent me their original and peach varieties to try.  Their kefir are described as a tart and tangy cultured milk smoothie that is high in protein, calcium and vitamin D. Thanks to our exclusive blend of kefir cultures, each cup of kefir contains 12 live and active cultures and 7 to 10 billion beneficial probiotic strains.

Lifeway Kefir is extreme…

What I Ate Wednesday: Hot Weather Edition

Thanks to Peas and Crayons for hosting another WIAW. 

There is no doubt that summer is finally here, so hot meals have taken a back seat and meals are becoming no-cook or low-cook.  In fact, when I look at this day, I realize its definitely not the healthiest example of nutrition, but that happens some times.

I am so loving the option of my Chocolate Protein Mousse for hot weather I don't even drink hot coffee!

On this day, my version of Chocolate Covered Katie's Nacho Cheese Hummus was the star, along with refreshing cucumber tomato salad with dill.

Snacks were baby carrots (not pictured) and this to die for frosted chocolate mint plantain cake...oh man, so good.  I have one left in the freezer and I will definitely be making more!

A few of these coffee frappes may have been consumed as well...

Dinner was veggie burger and steamed broccoli.  This is about the smallest, simplest dinner you'll ever see me eat.  The Nutrition Action Healthletter rated Sol Cui…

Don't Tell Her to Relax: Book Review

I do counselling for all sorts of issues but probably 80% of my practice is related to infertility/family building using Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART).  I am passionate about supporting and advocating for individuals dealing with infertility and pregnancy loss because I know how devastating it is.

One of the things that makes it so tough is that others, who have not experienced infertility, don't know how to support someone going through it.  There are so many myths and misconceptions out there about fertility and infertility and a lack of awareness about what dealing with infertility is like.  In addition, there is still significant stigma, so few people talk about it, which just perpetuates the myths, misconceptions and lack of awareness.

There are many books out there for individuals going through infertility that talk about how to cope, what you can expect with various treatments, etc. But there are few geared towards the loved ones of individuals dealing with infert…

Simply Spectacular Roasted Cauliflower

Oy it must be Monday!  The day began with a major meltdown from Little A because Big A wouldn't lend her a swim cover up for her school field trip today...even though its too small for Big A.  We resolved it, but because I had to be at the office to see clients fairly early this morning, it added to my usual morning stress of trying to get these kids out the door.

I also can't avoid complaining about the weather.  Its hot and humid and I HATE THAT!  Yes its now officially summer and all that crap, so what?

Oh, and then there is the fact that I tried to arrange my day around our cleaning service, which usually comes on Wednesdays but cancelled on us last week, which was just fabulous because we'd just had a bunch of minor home repairs done and there was debris all over the place.  They always come in the afternoon, but they came in the morning instead.  Arrg!  I hate being home when they're here but I came home to have lunch before taking the car into the shop to have …

I Don't Wear Beige

I am definitely happy it is Friday today.

Adam was away in Ottawa again for work.  Big A came down with a bug on Tuesday.  My mother-in-law was lovely enough to pick her up from school so I could work, but I then stayed home with her Wednesday.  At least Big A is very easy when she is sick, especially compared to Little A who is a whiny miserable mess anytime she isn't feeling good.  Big A just reads or plays quietly and really doesn't complain much.

Little A got very jealous of the fact that Big A spent part of Tuesday with their bubby, who spoiled her with French toast and popsicles.  She was in a total snit about it when we picked her up from school Tuesday and I was not impressed with this behaviour given what a lovely privileged life she leads (she never complains when she gets spoiled when she is sick!).  When we arrived home, there was a package for her from my mom.  Inside was a beautiful sundress.  Little A took one look at it and said, "I don't like this dr…

The Joy of Real Food: Book Review

Raw food diets have definitely increased in popularity over the last decade.  Toronto had a number of raw food restaurants and I've tried a few.  I like them because they are made from fresh, whole foods and healthy ingredients. 

That being said, I have never aspired to eating an entirely raw food diet for several reasons: (1) No evidence it is better for you (despite what some people claim) than a healthy diet that includes cooked food, (2) I like hot foods...especially during Canadian winters! (3) If you want to make it interesting, it can be both expensive and time consuming.

But since I enjoy raw food, I was happy to accept the offer to review The Joy of Real Food by Rowena Jayne.

The book starts with a synopsis of Jayne's own journey to a raw food diet.  Like so many women, she experienced years of body shame, low self-esteem and disordered eating.  Adopting a raw food diet helped her develop a healthier relationship with food and her body.

Next, she outlines the princi…

Vegan Nacho Cheese Hummus

Those are not pizzas! They are whole grain pitas smothered with as much of this divine hummus as I could squish on.

I receive delicious looking weekly emails from the very famous Chocolate Covered Katie blog.  Mostly desserts, Katie also has some savoury recipes too, and her recent hummus variations piqued my interest.  I was particularly excited by her Nacho Cheese Dorito Hummus, because it is made with nutritional yeast, which I adore.

Of course, I NEVER follow a recipe exactly, because I like to customize it to suit my tastes.  That's one of the reasons I love cooking!  I really don't get how, if you like food, and I think most people do, you can not like cooking.  My favorite food is the food made by me, because I make it how I like it best.  I think most people simply don't have confidence in their ability to cook things well, or don't think they can learn.  But you can, and you should!!

Anyways, back to the hummus.  Its amazing!  It made several days worth of lu…

Omron Electrotherapy Pain Relief Devices: Product Review

I adore working out and always have, but I will admit, I am not a huge fan of DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness).  You know, the pain you feel within 48 hours of a workout due to the tears you've created in your muscle fibres?  Its different from injury pain, its just your muscles repairing themselves and getting stronger.  But it sucks!

I started having a much more difficult time recovering from my workouts after age 35, and DOMS became a regular thing.  Taking L-Glutamine helps a whole lot but who doesn't love a good message?  Unfortunately, even though Adam's health plan has a bit of coverage for massage, its not much, so I can't afford to be having massages regularly.

So when Omron asked if I'd test out their Pain Relief Pro and Max Power devices for home use, I was, of course, game.

Essentially it sends electrical pulses to massage the muscles through skin pads you stick to the affected area.  I have had similar devices used on me by physiotherapists. The P…

#MotivateMe Monday

This is my first contribution to Motivate Me Monday, hosted by Fitness Cheerleader.

You know when you discover a food you love and you eat so much of it so often that suddenly you can't stand the sight of it?  I don't do that actually, however, my kids do all the time.  But it did happen to me with cardio.

I used to love nothing more than spinning, running, and other hard-core endurance activities.  Until I didn't.  For the last 2 years I have been doing very little, and focusing much more on strength training, my martial arts fitness programs, and a bit of HIIT, with only my Sunday morning spin class I teach as endurance work.

A few months ago I almost barfed running a short distance to get the bus and realized I may have let my cardio endurance slid a bit too much.  Also, the brutal winter took a toll and I fell into a bad habit of driving or taking public transport everywhere.

Since the weather improved this spring I am back to walking and biking a whole lot more, but …

I Don't Have a Bucket List

I just realized recently that I DON'T HAVE A BUCKET LIST.  Should I? Am I the only one who doesn't?

Last year I had a goal of doing the Princess Margaret Walk for Women's Cancers in honour of my friend J, who was diagnosed with ovarian cancer.  I did it and me and my team raised over $7,000!  I am proud of that and glad I did it as a way to end my last year before turning 40.

But now what?  Do I need to be making a list of things I feel I must do in my lifetime?  Is this something we should all do so we don't squander away the precious time we have on this earth before we leave it?  After all, research shows that people who take risks are happier and lead more fulfilled lives.  Truthfully, I have never been a risk taker, although others tell me a mid-life career transition was pretty risky!

I do want to go to Israel, but honestly even with that, I don't feel like it will be a tragedy if it doesn't happen.  I love exploring cities and, theoretically, I would lo…

The Good Karma Diet: Book Review

Its kind of ironic that this book was sent to me to review recently, because it addresses a topic I've been thinking about a lot lately. Should people be eating animals?

I have never been a vegan or vegetarian.  This surprises even me because as a kid I was obsessed with animals.  Now, my obsession was primarily focused on cats, which, in North America, we do not eat.  But I loved most least cute ones, yet I never was compelled to stop eating them.  Is this because my parents are staunch omnivores?  Certainly they are very intelligent, knowledgeable, socially conscious citizens, yet they never once raised the issue of the ethics of eating animals.  In fact, my dad would pretty much eat anything...and he has eaten all sorts of weird animal and insect things I would never touch!

It seems that this issue of whether or not to eat animals and animal products has become an increasingly contentious issue.  Especially now, when we have dietary trends that run in opposition t…

Japanese Green Salad with Simple Sesame Dressing

This salad was part of our dinner when we had the Sunday power outage.  Even if you have electricity, this makes a great meal for a hot day.  The edamame provides a great source of protein so this can be a main, if you prefer.  I made a large amount to have leftovers for the next day (just don't dress the salad you aren't eating right away), but feel free to half it if you wish.  I love seaweed, and love it, especially, in salads, but if you aren't a fan you can easily leave it out.

Umeboshe plum paste, used in the dressing is an amazing sweet, salty condiment, perfect for dressings, that is just 5 calories per teaspoon. If you can't find it, you can use miso instead.

Japanese Green Salad

1 package organic romaine hearts, chopped (or iceberg lettuce or other greens)
1 sweet bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 cucumber, sliced
1/4 cup wakame seaweed, soaked and drained
2 cups shelled edamame

Simple Sesame Dressing

1 tsp toasted sesame oil
1/4 cup tahini
1 tbsp. umeboshe plum p…

Egg Head

Eggs are healthy.  No they aren't.  Yes they are.  No they aren't.

Are you confused yet? 

Health experts have been going back and forth on this issue for a long time. In the 90s they fell into the 'unhealthy' category that included anything high in fat.  Also, because they are high in cholesterol, it was assumed they raise the risk of heart disease. 

But then you have the proponents of high-fat, high-protein diets that extol their virtues.  In addition, health experts have realized that it isn't the cholesterol, but the saturated fat in foods that raises our cholesterol levels.  Um, yeah, so which is it???

Should you eat them or not?

Well according to the June 2015 issue of the Centre for Science in the Public Interest Nutrition Action Health Letter, it depends on your current state of health.

Individuals with Type 2 diabetes, should eat less than 1 egg per week.  For anyone else, limit egg consumption to 5 or less per week.  So like most things, everything in m…

Adventures in Toronto

Um, hello, on a rainy, crazy Monday morning in Toronto!

It was quite a weekend, and it looks like the nuttiness continues today.

Saturday, I am happy to say, Big A's slumber party went off without a hitch.  The girls were very well behaved.  Little A tried to stay up with the big girls and found she couldn't get comfortable down in the rec room, so Adam ended up having to put her to bed in her room.  I slept through all this, but still had a crappy sleep.  I think I was just tense being the worry-wart mom, anxious something was going to go wrong.  The one weird thing was the pizza delivery guy (the girls had pizza and ice cream cake) came to our back door for some unknown reason (you have to go through a back alley to get to it...), so he scared the shit out of me.  Adam was so peeved, he called the pizzeria and screamed at them.  It was just so bizarre!  I think it freaked me out because of the break-in we had years ago through the back door.

Then yesterday, right after me …

Tooth Fairy Tales

I would say thank goodness its Friday, except today is totally nuts, packed full with clients, and I work tomorrow.  Then Saturday night Big A is having her first sleepover party at our place (wine, sleeping pills and ear plugs anyone?).  Oh, and there's this douche-bag cold I have.  Colds always feel worse in warm weather don't they?

Its not been the greatest week.  Adam away until Wednesday and I was not at my best.  Monday night I set the wrong alarm at bedtime (Adam usually does it, and turns it off in the morning as he gets up first), and ended up setting it off when I came down the stairs at 5am.  Somehow it didn't wake the girls.  Tuesday I was tired and grumpy from a bad sleep and had to pick up Big A from school because she said she wasn't feeling well.  I am pretty sure she was faking, but I wasn't torn up about missing the school concert, which my mother-in-law diplomatically described as, "...somewhat less painful than waterboarding." Ha ha!

Feeling Like Crap

Blech! Last night I developed a tickle in my throat, and sure enough, I woke up with a full-blown cold.  Unfortunately, I have a full schedule of clients the next 3 days and, as you know, colds don't usually qualify as a reason to lie in bed all day...especially when you have kids!

So have a lovely Thursday and I will be back tomorrow...hopefully feeling better.

What I Ate Wednesday: Grumpy Hump Day Edition

Another day of meal inspiration thanks to WIAW at Clean Eats Fast Feets!

Adam has been in Ottawa for a conference this week, so its been just me and the girls.  Sigh!  Of course, I had lots of evening clients booked before realizing he was going to be away, so Monday the girls actually had to come to the office with me and sit in the board room while I did a session.  Then Monday night I had a horrible sleep, so was tired and grumpy yesterday. As luck would have it, last night was the girls' school spring concert. I will be honest, I never look forward to it. Its in an overheated, overcrowded school gym, your own kids only perform for a few minutes out of a few hours, and they are far away on stage where you can't really see or hear them well.  At the end, the kids are wired, tired and whiny.  Fun stuff!  So as horrible as it sounds, I was relieved when the school called in the afternoon for me to pick up Big A because she had a headache (no fever or anything).  I had a sleep-…

Grab a Handful

So if you've had children, than, like me, your bra size has probably changed a bunch of times, and like me, you probably have a drawer full of bras that don't fit properly.

Not only do I have a bra drawer to clean out, but I have a great deal of difficulty finding bras that fit properly and are comfortable.  I have a small band size and larger cup size, and this particular combination is impossible to find anywhere except expensive bra boutiques, but then the available styles are usually butt-ugly and/or uncomfortable due to underwire, hooks, clasps, etc.  I have very sensitive skin and easy get irritated from lace, tags, etc.  I've discovered that I favour the wireless pull-over-your-head kind of bra instead of the ones that you undo.  Unfortunately, most of the ones you find in stores are 'bralettes' and meant for women with a very small cup size, offering almost no support.  Definitely not what an active, ehm, top-heavier person like me needs.

A few years ago I…

Catch Some Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Its Monday morning.  Are you feeling anxious? Tired? Depressed?

So what's your poison? Alcohol? Drugs? Food? Online gaming?

Everyone these days seems to have a dependence on something.  Not an addiction, per se, but a tendency to 'misuse' either a substance or an activity.

Among my clients it tends to most usually be food or alcohol that is misused. What do I mean? I mean they are used as a coping strategy.  Sure, every one of us will reach for Haagen Daz or Merlot on occasion to release tension, but for some people this becomes a habit.

In psychological terms, we refer to this as an 'avoidant coping strategy' because you are essentially numbing yourself to the distress without directly addressing the source.  Unfortunately, it doesn't tend to work well long-term.

Based on my own experiences, and my observations based on my counselling practice, I have come up with a theory: Most of the time when we are reaching for whatever it is we tend to use as an avoidant…