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Archive | November, 2015

Vitamins

28 Nov

I am so not a vitamin person. I don’t believe in them, the same way some people don’t believe in Santa Clause, or eating sugar, it is just not my thing.

Buuuut, I don’t always eat a well balanced diet and while I know and understand that our bodies are not meant to get concentrated doses of vitamins and that our bodies will pee out most of what we swallow when taking a vitamin, I figure any additional nutrients my body may absorb from taking a vitamin can only be a good thing.

Also, they came came out with gummie vitamins for adults and I really wanted to give them a try lol πŸ˜›

So I bought these…because they are gummies, and because I had a coupon…

Centrum-3D-MultiGummies_Bilingual

They are not as fun to take as I was hoping lol The gummies leave a bit of Β a weird taste in my mouth once I have taken them, and you take two a day so the bottle won’t last as long as you think it will when you buy it…unless you are one of those people that reads everything on the bottle before you buy it but really, who does that? πŸ˜‰

You are supposed to take them with food so I make sure to take them right before I eat. I figure they tell you to take them with food so you don’t notice the weird after taste quite as much.

This particular bottle is meant to help with my immune function, antioxidant and metabolism…though I don’t know how it is supposed to affect any of those three things, shrug. The mystery of the multigummie! lol

There are three flavours in there, cherry, berry and orange. I haven’t noticed a distinct difference in the flavours of the various gummies, they are all a bit bland, but not gross bland, just not as good as a gummie candy and not like I can be expecting them to taste as good as a real gummie, I mean c’mon, these are nutritional gummies, practically a contradiction in terms! πŸ˜›

I don’t know if they are helping me, or making any difference at all, but I have only been taking them a week so I doubt I would be able to notice a difference that quickly. Maybe once I am at the end of the bottle I will notice a change, in something…somehow…someway…I don’t even know what kinds of changes to look for so I might not notice even if something does change lol

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Bone Marrow Donor

27 Nov

I did this a little while ago and never got around to posting about it. Waaaay back when I donated blood that got me a membership to the Canadian Blood Services website, where I can check in to see when I am next allowed to donate blood, make an appointment to donate blood, and well, read things blood related lol

When I got my membership card in the mail it came with a letter and somewhere on there it mentioned being a bone marrow donor. I didn’t know much about that, just some vague idea of what donating marrow involved, but I did know it saves lives and that there are never enough donors. Mostly I knew there weren’t enough donors because there are never enough donors for anything, blood, marrow, organs, you name it, people don’t like to donate it.

So I thought, meh, why not sign up to donate bone marrow. You can’t just willy nilly do that though. First you have to read a bunch of stuff, then you have to take a test to prove that you read all the stuff and understood it (or at least stored it in your short term memory so you could answer the test questions lol) and then you get sent a kit in the mail so you can send in your sample. Not quite as easy as donating blood but also not all that hard, shrug.

I read the stuff, I took the exam, I passed the exam with flying colours (it isn’t exactly hard) and I was told a kit would come to me in the mail for my samples. Now, it isn’t that I forgot about it exactly, but it kinda slipped my mind until about two weeks later when I got all this in the mail…

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They send you four cotton swabs, you use them to swab the upper and lower, left and right, of your cheeks, then you attach a bar code sticker to the stick, plunk them in the swab holder, put it all in a pre-paid envelope and stick it in the mail. According to the information they sent me if there is anything wrong with the samples I send in (say I did something wrong) they would send me another kit in the mail letting me know they needed me to re-swab the inside of my cheeks.

It took me a couple days, ok more like a week or so, to do all that once I had received it in the mail but at least I got around to it eventually! They did stress in the letter that once you have taken your samples to mail it back as quickly as you can so I made sure to not procrastinate with that part of it.

I haven’t heard from them since so I figure one of two scenarios played out (1) they did whatever it is they do with my samples, decided nope, we are not adding this looney girl to the database and destroyed them or (2) they did whatever it is they do with my samples, decided they were ok, and I am now in a database where one day I may be matched with someone who needs a bone marrow transplant.

Either way, I did all I can do, and now I can pretty much forget about it. Maybe one day I will be contacted but not like I am going to sit around constantly thinking about that, that’d just be weird lol.

I know donating bone marrow is not as easy as donating blood. There are two ways they collect your bone marrow and while one procedure is easier than the other both have minor effects on you and your body for a couple days or so, but I figure any discomfort I might go through is nothing compared to what a person who is in need of the transplant is going through.

Also, if they contact you saying you are a match you aren’t obligated to say yes. You can say no for any number of reasons (ex. you chicken out, it is a bad time in your life for the procedure to happen, you just aren’t sure you can go through with it, etc). The only thing they stress is that if you say yes, and the person needing the transplant has their system wiped then you really can’t back down at that point because you are pretty much condemning that person to death. They sugar coat it, but let’s face it, that is the reality.

I am in no way saying everybody should sign up to be a bone marrow donor, in fact, not everybody Β can sign up. There are age restrictions. They didn’t really say why the age cut-off, and I don’t know if it means once you reach that age you are taken out of the data base if you were already signed up to be a donor, but there are restrictions. Also, they need an ethnically diverse data base and unfortunately they don’t have that. The most common donors are Caucasian males, I wasn’t sure they would want me since I am a Caucasian female but my being Caucasian didn’t seem to put them off, shrug. Buuuut I guess if asked I would say maybe read up on it, learn a bit about it, and if it seems like something you would like to do to help your fellow human being send away for the swab kit thingy and sign-up. It doesn’t cost you anything and who knows, maybe one day you’ll get to save a life!…and how cool would that be? πŸ™‚

Christmas Market Season

25 Nov

Woohoo! Christmas Market season is upon us, and I love it!

Last weekend I went to an indoor Christmas Market in Abbotsford with a friend and had a lovely time. I meant to take more pictures than I did but oh well, least I managed to take some! lol πŸ˜›

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Now obviously I bought a bunch of stuff, I mean c’mon, what else is a Christmas Market for? But I can’t say what I bought since all but one item is a present for people and those people read this blog. Can’t be giving away Christmas secrets now! lol You’ll just have to trust me that the booths held a lot of interesting items and there were plenty of great things to spend your hard earned dollars on. πŸ™‚

The Christmas Markets I have been to in the past have always been outside, in the cold, in the dark, and while they are lots of fun and have plenty of atmosphere there is something to be said for wandering around indoors and not worrying about your freezing cold feet or drinking endless cups of apple cider all in an attempt to keep your hands warm lol I did kinda miss the cider though… πŸ˜‰

This market was better than Costco when it came to food samples, which I was not expecting! I mean seriously, pretty much every booth that was selling food had food samples and oh man did my friend and I eat our fill! I didn’t eat dinner that evening because I was still stuffed when I got home lol I had some salmon, some chicken and rice with a homemade sauce on it, mango chocolate that tasted only of mango so I’d never have guessed it was chocolate, various flavours of balsamic vinegars (and of course the bread I dipped in them), lychee flavoured honey, as well as a cinnamon flavoured honey (the cinnamon one was better, imo), ummm…oh! There was this disgusting gluten free, sugar free, vegan pumpkin pie and a gluten free, sugar free, vegetarian “buttercream icing” (that had no butter, no milk/cream and no sugar). Both those were at a booth being run by a lady promoting her gluten free, sugar free, vegetarian cookbook. Sorry but I like sugar, and gluten, and animal products. Besides, instead of sugar she was using stevia and there was a weird, lingering, artificial taste, ick. And why in the world would she call her icing Buttercream Icing when it is not? It was a lime and coconut icing that was not even close to being similar to a buttercream icing…that sucker needs a new name lol

There was more food I am just blanking on it right now. Since I thought this market would be like the ones I have gone to before I had imagined myself wandering the booths and at some point buying a meal but nibbling my way through samples was way more fun, even though it became almost impossible to track in any way how many calories I ate, but oh well, guess what happens at a Christmas Market stays at a Christmas Market! teehee

Toby’s North Shore

12 Nov

Ok, first off I have to apologize at my lack of photograph, I am a bad foodie, sigh, and forgot to take a picture of my dinner. And fyi, I so should have because daaaamn that dinner was good! lol πŸ˜›

This past Monday a friend and I met up for dinner and we went to Toby’s, here is the restaurant’s website link:

http://tobysnorthshore.ca/

Now, if I had been a good little dieter I would have ordered a salad but I was cold, and hungry, and tired, and all of those things conspired to make it easier for me to justify splurging on my calories and ordering something based on my taste bud’s preference vs my desire to get a smaller ass preference.

Enter the Pulled Pork Sandwich, or as they call it the Pulled Pork Crunch.

This would be where a picture of it would go if I had one, *big epic sigh*

It is a pulled pork sandwich with coleslaw and onion rings on a hoagie.

So good. So so so good. As in amazingly good! As in go order this sandwich! Mmm! πŸ˜€

The side options are fries, salad or colcannon which if I remember correctly is mashed potato with kale in it. I figured I was already goin to town with the calories in the sandwich no point in pretending to be healthy by getting a side salad lol so I got the fries.

The fries are also delish! They are the type that have a batter of some sort on them that makes them super crunchy, man I love those. πŸ™‚

The sandwich, the epic amazing sandwich, oh where to begin! It is huge, so I cut it in half and even eating just half leaves you full. There is a lot of pulled pork on the sandwich, as there should be, with a good ratio of meat to sauce. So, not too drippy but not dry either. Some sauce ended up on my plate but not enough I felt I was losing all the good stuff lol There is also coleslaw on the sandwich, it seemed to be more for texture as I didn’t really taste it. Again, the ratio of coleslaw to everything else was spot on. Then there were, I want to say three large onion rings but it might have been four, and those are what took the sandwich up a notch.

Who doesn’t like onion rings? Only crazy people! So adding them to an already delicious sandwich is brilliant!…in my oh so humble opinion that is lol πŸ˜‰

After eating half the sandwich and a little under half the fries I stopped eating, engaging in the trick everyone trying to lose weight knows about where you eat slow (which I sorta didn’t do) and take time after finishing so your brain can realize your stomach is actually full. I really wanted to keep eating but instead engaged in conversation and what do you know, it worked! I was perfectly fine with getting the server to pack up the leftovers to go because half a huge sandwich and a little under half an order of fries really does fill a stomach.

However, some guilt kicked in on the drive home and I started thinking about how I probably really screwed up my calories for the Monday and taking the left overs home would mean I would eat them on Tuesday thereby screwing up my calories for two days in a row which, hmm, yeah, not cool. So I engaged in a little bit of good karma and gave my left overs to a homeless lady I saw on the way home. Don’t go freaking out to me about germs an stuff, I cut the sandwich so the half I gave her I hadn’t even touched let alone bit in to and the fries were unmolested also since I only touched the fries I ate.

Then, me being me I emailed the contact info from the website requesting the nutritional information buuuut I didn’t really think I’d get an answer. Or if they did answer it would be to tell me they don’t know, which sucks.

Happy surprise I got an answer the next day and he had the nutritional information! According to Chef Chris (he is the one who answered my email) the sandwich was 400 calories and the fries were 225 calories.

Not bad at all!

I was expecting the meal to be well over 1000 calories, and I’m not really sure how it wasn’t, but I also don’t care, I am just happy it was not nearly as high as I imagined lol

Plus, it gets even better when you remember I only ate half!

I sorta wished I hadn’t given my left overs away but I’m sure the lady I gave them to needed the food more than I do so I guess I’m actually still glad I gave them away. πŸ™‚

tobys

Remembrance Day Poem

11 Nov

In Gratitude of Silence

By: Debbie Holick

Silent now the soldiers sleep, their tales long laid to rest.
I knew them not yet still I weep and place a poppy o’er my breast.

They were husbands, brothers, fathers, sons; so valiantly they fought.
On shores stained red,on hands and knees; it was our freedom that they sought.

Courageously they stood their ground but freedom carries a cost.
Thousands of men were wounded and countless lives were lost.

So in gratitude of silence and all those who have served,
sleep now, you have earned it. Your peace is well deserved.

Remembrance2015

Nutella Brownies

7 Nov

If you don’t like Nutella (1) are you sick? and (2) this post probably won’t interest you all that much lol

I saw a recipe for Nutella Brownies and reeeeally wanted to try them. Luckily this was prior to Halloween and I had a Halloween party to go to which gave me the perfect excuse to do some baking! πŸ™‚

The original recipe called for:

1 1/4 Cups Nutella

2 Eggs

1/2 Cup Flour

Combine all three in to a bowl, mix, pour the batter in to a pan and bake it in the oven for 15 minutes at 350 degrees.

Here is the video…

When I made the first batch I followed the recipe exactly but once it was all mixed together I didn’t like the consistency of the batter. I chose to trust in the recipe and poured it in to the pan anyways and yeah, no, that didn’t work. Even though I used a square brownie pan there was barely enough batter to cover the bottom of the pan, not cool! So I measured out the remaining Nutella, added an egg to it and mixed in flour until I felt the batter looked right, then I added it to the pre-existing batter that was in the pan. I put it in the oven for 15 minutes at 350 degrees but since I had almost doubled the batter size it needed more time so I put it back in but kept a close eye on it, if I remember correctly it took about 25 minutes total.

The result looked like this…

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Granted, not the most photogenic brownies in existence but damn tasty! This batch was my “tester” batch, I took them to work because my work friends are basically my guinea pigs for my baking lol They don’t reeeeally seem to mind all that much lol πŸ˜›

The brownie is rich, gooey and basically delicious. πŸ˜€

I made a fresh batch the following day for the party, that time I used an entire jar of Nutella, three eggs and I put flour in until I liked the consistency of the batter. Which horrifies me a little bit because I always get on my mother’s case about using measurements when cooking / baking because I’ll ask her for a recipe and she’ll tell me “put such-n-such in until it looks right” and omg I don’t know how it will look when it looks right! Course, she got it worse, her mom-in-law was telling her a recipe for baking bread and not even kidding, part of her instructions went along the line of “when I use the red bowl I put flour in up to here…” ok sure, I am paraphrasing and may have the bowl colour wrong but you get the idea. Craziness. The world is full of craziness!

So yeah, the point to that tangent is I can’t give you an exact measurement for the flour, I think I used 1/2 Cup to 3/4 Cup of flour but I really don’t know. I just put some in a one Cup measure and poured it in the bowl, mixed, added a little more, mixed, added a little more, mixed, until I thought it looked right, shrug. Just think about what brownie batter should look like and add flour until you get to that.

The baking temp and time stayed the same, 350 degrees for 25 minutes.

Stick a tester in the middle at the 25 minute mark and if it comes out mostly clean than you are good to go! …I say mostly clean because mine had a teeny bit of brownie stick to the tester but since the brownies were going to cool in the pan I knew the batter would keep baking for a bit even after being removed from the oven so I was ok with it being a little extra gooey in the middle when I took it out of the oven because by the time they had cooled enough to be cut they would have finished baking.

Oh the wonders of the kitchen! πŸ˜‰

One thing that I didn’t like was that both batches had slightly over cooked edges. When I cut them for packaging I cut off the outside edges so nobody would get a non-gooey piece. Not wanting to offend the baking gods by wasting brownie I broke up the left over pieces, put them in a bowl, warmed them up, topped with vanilla ice cream and had the most decadent dinner. Oh my god so good! Oh so bad for me but oh so good for my taste buds and really, isn’t life about balance?

Some Healthy Food…For A Change!

6 Nov

It seems that lately, when I write about food I am writing about baking I have done. Delicious but completely unhealthy baking. I don’t believe in baking “healthy”, ya know, where you swap out sugar for splenda or use apple sauce instead of, well, whatever it is people take out when they swap in apple sauce. Nuh-uh. If you’re gonna eat a cupcake, or cookie, or piece of cake or whatever than just go for it and eat the real thing! Just maybe not all day every day… πŸ˜›

Don’t fret, the post I am writing after this one is about some Nutella Brownies I made recently but for this post it is all about healthier options that I have made lately, and surprisingly, each one is tasty!

My first happy find was at Whole Foods, which makes me a bit ashamed because I am anti-Whole Foods buuuuut I was in the attached coffee shop with a friend last week, it was pouring rain, I was cold, wet, and super hungry and instead of splurging on a piece of pie or cookie I bought this…

Oatmeal!

Oatmeal!

Ok sure, it would make a better picture if the oatmeal was still in the jar but I had already eaten it lol It is a fake mason jar, it had oatmeal, coconut, pecans and some brown sugar all layered in a pretty way on top of each other. I think it is actually meant to be purchased and taken with you as-is but I had them add boiling water to it and ate it while sitting in the coffee shop with my friend. It was a bit bland, I had to add more brown sugar to it, but otherwise it was good. What I like most about it is the jar, which seems odd but hear me out! Race days always start super early, too early to be eating breakfast at home so usually I end up buying a brekkie sandwich on the way to the race grid and eating it while driving which lets be honest, may be tasty but isn’t a healthy way to be starting the day. Plus eating that fast leaves me feeling icky lol So I brought the jar home, washed it, and will tuck it away until I have a morning where I have to leave early and don’t have time to eat before I leave. I will fill it the night before with oats and whatever toppings I want, add boiling water in the morning, stir, pop the lid on, and bring it with me. By the time I get to wherever I’m going I’ll have a perfect jar of oatmeal! πŸ™‚

My second healthy food is super simple, and I suppose a bit boring but I like it! I’ve been wanting a rice bowl lately, which is unfortunate because I don’t really eat rice anymore. I love rice but I lump it in the same category as potatoes and other “filler” items which means to me they are unnecessary and to be avoided. sigh. Just because something tastes good doesn’t mean it is worth the calories! I was at a Sushi restaurant that I frequent quite often (I looooove sushi!) and I, on a whim, bought a take-out serving of brown rice. Mmm, brown rice! White is tastier but if I’m gonna splurge on rice I figure make it the healthier option…which I just realized is in complete opposition to my feelings in regards to baked goods, weird…

To go with the brown rice I bought some “pulled chicken” which isn’t really a thing. Safeway sells rotisserie chickens and every now and then they strip the meat off of one and sell the meat in a container, it is already in bite sized pieces, the skin has been removed and oh man is it tasty! I really like those chickens but it is way too much meat for me so when I see the containers with the smaller amounts in them I pluck them up from the deli section super fast.

I also bought a sweet potato, cucumber and yellow pepper. I put half a cup of brown rice in a bowl with 38 grams of the chicken and popped it in the microwave for a minute. When it was hot I mixed in 1/2 tablespoon of bbq sauce then topped the rice and chicken with some cubed sweet potato, pepper and cucumber.

Brown rice, chicken, sweet potato, cucumber, yellow pepper and bbq sauce.

Brown rice, chicken, sweet potato, cucumber, yellow pepper and bbq sauce.

Ok so not the most appetizing looking dish but it did taste good, satisfied my yen for the rice bowl and wasn’t too bad calorie wise.

I copied the instructions from a video I found on YouTube for cooking the sweet potato and it worked great! Here is the video…

The third food is sort of a two parter. I was watching a different YouTube video and this girl made a banana smoothie. All she put in the blender were two sliced and frozen bananas and two “splashes” of milk. I hate when people don’t use measurements, sigh. The result was a frothy, creamy, tasty looking smoothie that she swore tasted good. I decided to give it a try but just did one banana and half a cup of milk. I didn’t want to commit to a larger smoothie drink in case I didn’t like it. Well, turns out I liked it, it was good. The size I made was perfect if you want to use the smoothie as a treat or dessert instead of a meal.

Now, on a whim I bought some Special K Protein Shakes (chocolate flavour). Don’t judge! I was in line at the grocery store, the line was massive and wasn’t moving and I was standing right beside a display for these things and they were on sale. Total impulse buy! I put them in the fridge and had yet to work up the courage to try one, I was kinda worried they would taste super gross and I’d be stuck with them anyways lol

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I decided to use the chocolate protein shake instead of milk and a sliced, frozen banana to make a shake this evening and figured the addition of frozen raspberries could only make it better, right? Right! The result turned out like this…

Chocolate protein shake, frozen banana and frozen raspberries. Mmm!

Chocolate protein shake, frozen banana and frozen raspberries. Mmm!

It is delish! I used about 3/4 cup of frozen raspberries, one small banana (sliced and frozen) and one container of the Special K Protein shake which is about 1 cup. One thing I didn’t anticipate is that the chocolate shake is thicker than milk so the resulting drink was super thick. I could have thinned it out by adding some milk I suppose but I opted to try it as-is. I ended up eating it with a spoon lol Next time I just might put it in a bowl, it was like ice cream after you stirred it all around in the bowl with a spoon and it is smooth and creamy. Definite dessert material! The shakes also come in vanilla and strawberry and there is no end to frozen fruit to try, I’m looking forward to experimenting and trying all sorts of new flavour combos. πŸ™‚

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