Monday, June 6, 2011

I'm having an affair...

It's true.  I'm having an affair.

With food.

There I said it.  And it's about time too.

In the last two months, I've been doing a lot of soul searching and reflection on how I got to be so overweight in the first place.  Yes, there's genetics.  Yes, I am active, but not enough.  Yes, I have made some crappy food choices.  It's all true.  But, after a lot of careful consideration, I've decided that the number one reason I am fat is because of my love of food.

I love the experience of eating.  It's so sensual and alluring.  It's a veritable olfactory orgy of sights, smells, textures and tastes, and I love everything about it.

So, in my great efforts to get to, what I am calling, my comfortable weight (read as, whatever weight I get to where I can look in the mirror and truly love myself, despite a few wobbly bits - I LOVE some of my wobbly bits!) I have decided that rather than fight my love of food, I should work with it.

My plan?  To make every meal (ok, most meals - seriously, who has time for every??) a feast for the senses - it must smell devine, look gorgeous and taste?  Oh you can be guaranteed it will taste at least as good as it looks - mostly because I've said screw it to buying things as inexpensively as possible (I do love a deal!) and gone with buying higher quality ingredients in smaller quantities.  Don't get me wrong, if something is on sale, I will still get it, but only if it is the best quality I can afford.

The result?  21 lbs down, a full belly and family and friends who are super jealous of my gourmet meals!

I will post some of the recipes as my time allows.  This girl's getting ready for the end of the school year, and getting ready to start (yet another) degree - this time at Toronto Montessori Institute to get my Elementary Montessori teaching credentials.  More letters to put behind my name!

In the mean time, enjoy some pics to make your mouths water!

Spinich Salad with Strawberries, Mandarin Oranges, Chicken, Almonds & Poppy Seed Dressing

Homemade Turkey Burger

Spinich Salad with Chicken, Tomatoes, Italian Cheese, Fig Balsamic Dressing & Garlic Toasts

Asian Chicken & Veggies with a Homemade Sesame Ginger Marinade

Angel Hair Primavera with Fresh Basil, Onions, Yellow Zuccini, Roasted Red Peppers & Button Mushrooms

My version of a Greek Gyro with Chicken, tomatoes, feta, spinich and homemade tzatziki sauce

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The journey of a thousand miles starts with a single smoothie...

I've always been the "fat girl."

It is what it is.

I'm sure that there are about a million things I could blame my weight on, but really it boils down to bad food choices, stupid portions and not enough exercise.

Well, a few weeks ago, I decided enough was enough.  

I hate the way I look.
I hate the way I feel.
And, I'm tired of being the "fat girl."

I've been reading and researching all kinds of stuff to get my ass in gear - but the more I read, the more I realize that diets are just not going to work for me.

I need a lifestyle change.

I found an amazing *FREE* website called  It's awesome!!  I had no idea what a proper portion size was or how many calories I was eating before, but this site has helped me get this portion thing under control.  

It helps me keep track of my calorie intake, keep track of my exercise goals and does all the math for me - all I have to do is plug in what I ate or did and voila!  It even keeps track of my weight and measurements so I can see how my body changes as I go through this journey.

I've already lost 3lbs!  YAY!

Anyway - it's going to be a long, hard, crazy journey, but it's going to be SO worth it.

In this spirit, I submit to you my new favourite breakfast - a smoothie - that I hope you will try if you, like me, are trying to get your ass in gear.  I have never been able to eat breakfast without feeling like I was going to puke, but this has been keeping me full, kick starting my metabolism and generally making the day go better!


Frozen Fruit Breakfast Smoothie
1 cup skim milk (86cal)
1 scoop "Designer Whey" protein (100cal)
1 Tbsp Source Vanilla yogurt (5cal)
one of the following:
3/4 cup PC Frozen 5 Fruit Blend (60cal) OR
1/2 cup PC Frozen Raspberries (40cal) OR
1/2 cup PC Frozen 4 Berry Mix (40cal)

Add 1/2 a banana for a hit of potassium (55cal)

Put all ingredients into a Magic Bullet cup (or a blender) and blend until smooth, throw in a straw and call it brekkie!

Total Calories:
5 Fruit:  251cal   306cal with banana
Raspberry/Mixed Berry:  231cal or 286cal with banana

photo from here

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Easy as π!

I don't bake.  (And I'm a nerd, so if you don't get the math reference, sorry. LOL)

I can bake, but I almost always burn things or screw them up because I can't stand measuring things.  I'm of the mind that I should be able to throw a bunch of things in a pot/bowl/pan/pot and it will either work out great or not.

Today, however, I decided to throw caution to the wind and bake something I've never made before.  After a quick trip to the grocery store and three packages of strawberries later (What?!  They were on sale!  Yes, I know that the Hubby and I will never eat that many strawberries before they go bad, but seriously!  YUM!)

Anyway, I decided to make strawberry pie.  The ones my mum has always made involve that gelatin stuff that you have to refrigerate - tastes fake and is way too sweet.  I figure baking a strawberry pie should be no different from any other type of pie, hypothetically anyway.  So I jumped in with both feet like I do with everything else, and went for it.  I didn't use a recipe - those are for suckers!!  I threw a bunch of stuff into a pie crust and hoped for the best!

The result?  DELICIOUS warm strawberry pie served with French vanilla ice cream.  Best Tuesday night desert ever and a taste of summer sun!  Hope you enjoy!

Baked Strawberry Pie

Two packages of strawberries, washed, hulled and sliced into bite size pieces
Two frozen pie crusts (ie: tenderflake) thawed (or use your own dough, Ms. Fancy-Pants!)
1/2 cup of white sugar
2 Tbsp. Cornstarch

Place sliced up berries in a bowl.  Add sugar and let stand for 20 minutes.  In a separate bowl, toss in the cornstarch.  Drain the strawberries letting the juice drip onto the cornstarch.  Whisk the sugary juice and cornstarch until lumps disappear.  

Using a fork, poke holes in one of the pie crusts and fill with the berries.  It should be heaping.  Use your hands to pack gently.  Pour the juice & cornstarch mixture over the berries until you can just see it around the edges.  You will not need it all - don't discard extra!  Save it!  

Flip the other thawed pie crust on a floured counter or parchment paper.  Use your hands to flatten into a circle.  Using a knife, cut the pie crust into strips of whatever width you want.  Use this to make a basket weave on the top of the pie.  

Using the left over juice/cornstarch mixture, brush over the top of the basket weave and sprinkle with a palm full of sugar.  Bake at 350 for 45 minutes or until top is browned, berries are soft and the juice looks to be more "jelly" like.  

Serve WARM with French vanilla ice cream!  Enjoy!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

I Want my Mummy.

I think the sound of a phone ringing late at night or first thing in the morning is the most terrifying sound ever.

And that's how I woke up yesterday.

My grandparents number showed up on the call display, and as they were still in Florida, I figured it was my sister calling to tell me that they had a leak at their house when she was checking on it.

I was wrong.

It was my grandma.  She was calling to let me know that they were home.  A month and a bit early.  Just because.  She didn't want me or my sister to worry when we drove by and saw their car in the driveway.  She told us they were very tired and not up for visitors that day, but that we could come by another time.

My grandma didn't sound like my grandma.  The minute I heard her voice, I knew something was wrong.  This was confirmed when  I called my sister who said grandma sounded weird on the phone to her too - if you know my sister, you know that it must be obvious if she picked up on it (I love her, but she's not the first to pick up on emotional cues...)

Under normal circumstances, I likely would have been told by my mum that they were home.  However, under normal circumstances, my mum would not be on holidays in Rotan for the next 9 days.  So, what does any level headed, almost 29 year old woman do in light of a potential familial disaster?

Burst into tears and tell my husband that I want my mummy.  That's what.

Mature?  Not so much.  But you have to understand, when it comes to my grandparents, the thought of  ANYTHING being wrong makes me beyond upset.  I'm even teary right now as I'm writing this.  I kept thinking, Why now?!  I'm not equipped to deal with whatever the world has to throw at me!  I can't handle illness or death or whatever else may be the reason that they are home early...This is MUM stuff!  I need my mum!!

And then another thought hit me...this is what it will be like when she's gone forever- no one to turn to when I need help or advice, . Morbid thought?  Absolutely, but she's not going to live forever.

It was at this point I completely lost my shit, burst into tears again and decided that whoever decided to put us on this earth only to screw around with us this way was cruel.

And then I heard my mothers voice in the back of my head saying, pull yourself together, your acting like a baby.

So I stopped and tried to calm down and in a very uncharacteristically systematic way, I decided to do everything I thought my absent mother would do in this situation.

Stay calm.
Be present.
Do everything in my power to help in any way I can.

That's really all I can do.

Until today, I had never really thought about what it would be like to lose my parents or my grandparents, for that matter.  They've always been there - but mortality is something we all have to deal with.  What is it that they say - the only things in life that are sure are debt and death?    I guess the true test of your upbringing is when those who raised you are no longer there to offer guidance - and though at this point I am still fortunate enough to have 90% of my family still alive and accounted for, the thought of being set adrift in the sea of life without a map or a compass is, perhaps, the most frightening thought I've ever had.  I'm terrified.

I just hope that when the day comes that my mum is no longer with us, I still hear her voice in my head guiding me along the way.

As for my grandparents, I do not feel comfortable sharing the reasons for their early exodus from Florida.  Needless to say, I am so glad they are home and safe and if you happen to keep them in your thoughts and prayers, I would be ever grateful.

I'm a little beside myself at the moment, and I feel oddly better having written this down.

Thank you for reading it. xo

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Comfort food...

I have neglected my kitchen in the last couple weeks.

I haven't cooked.  I haven't cleaned.  I have generally lost interest in all things related to food in general.

Tonight, however, after a productive afternoon of laundry, I decided to treat myself to some comfort food, sans husband (he's working tonight)

So, I whipped up a quick, easy pasta dish that is full of delicious veggies - the perfect end to a busy day!

Balsamic Chicken Alfredo with Mediterranean Vegetables

Boil up some pasta - I like to use whole wheat penne or fusilli.  Cook according to package directions, drain. 

Grill or pan sear a chicken breast (or two, if you want to share with someone else!)

Chop up and stir fry: 
1 red onion
1 small zucchini
1 small eggplant
1/2 a red bell pepper OR 2 large roasted red peppers (from a jar)

To the stir fried veggies, add 1 jar of alfredo sauce - I like to use Classico mushroom alfredo sauce.
Then add 1/2 cup of Balsamic salad dressing.  Bring to a simmer.  Add pasta.  Plate and add a chicken breast.  I like to serve mine with freshly grated asiago cheese.  Voila!  Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

It's been a very, very rough week.

Rough enough that more than once, I thought about changing careers, becoming a hermit or just hopping on a plane, changing my name and forgetting everything about this "Stephanie" person (by the way, she clearly sucks).

Hello pitty party.

But in the midst of all of this self indulgence, I heard the voice of my Grandmama in the back of my head saying, "Oh honey, whenever God closes a door, he opens a window.  Things will get better, just have faith in yourself and be thankful for all of the things you have."

And so, for this post, rather than dwelling on all the things that have made me fall off the rails this week, I will focus on 10 things that I am thankful for.

10.  Good books.  I mean, really good books.  Books that change the way I look at the world and challenge my preconceptions.  

9.  Music of almost any possible kind because it is food for the soul.

8.  Sweet red wine.  It's perfect.

7.  A cold beer on a hot day.  There is NOTHING better. :)

6.  Our great nation - that it is even possible for me to be sitting here with food in my belly, a roof over my head, a relatively stable government worrying about my wants rather than my needs.

5.  A hot bath.

4.  My Grandmama.  She is my hero.  She is the most cultured, loving and generous woman I have ever had the privilege of knowing.  If someday I am half the woman she is, I will be doing just fine.

3.  My friends who love me dearly for all my foibles and for whom I would do anything.  I may not have a thousand friends, but the ones I have are the best of the best.

2.  My sister - because although we fight (a lot) and we rarely see eye to eye (on anything) and sometimes, it's as if she's from another planet (Mars??)   I know that in the whole world, there is no one who would stick up for me more.  She's like a pitbull.

1.  My husband who loves me unconditionally, who tells me that I'm not as horrible as I think I am and makes me dinner, on his birthday because I've had a shitty day at work.  Yes, it's quite possible I am the worst wife ever, but I know how lucky I am.

In the words of Buddha:
"Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn't learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn't learn a little, at least we didn't get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn't die; so, let us all be thankful."

Friday, February 4, 2011

The Dreaded Horror-scope!

I'm a Pisces.

Now, please don't take me for one of those crazy people who base everything in their lives on the zodiac.  I rarely read my own horoscope, I did not plan my marriage around who would be my best astrological match, I will not plan my children in that manner either.

That being said, I've always found the characteristics of each sign absolutely fascinating.

I mean, read for yourself.  If you know me at all, you know that this description is pretty much dead on.

And I find it really funny that I naturally (and accidentally, I swear!) surround myself with people of "compatible" zodiac signs.  (Hello to all my Taurus, Cancer, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Capricorn and Aquarius peeps!) I also find it really funny that I generally avoid all the rest of the signs (ie:  my Aires

Anyway, I've been coming to terms lately with a lot of internal conflict - trying to feel more balanced and at peace with myself and the world around me and I've decided the best way to feel more like me is to really embrace all of my contradictions.  I know that some of the best parts of life are caused by tension, conflict and contrast, but being a highly emotional person, it's sometimes hard to remember that.

I guess I just need to be more Zen about life in general.

But, hey, I'm working on it.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

More evidence of a (nearly) third of a life crisis.

I used to rock.

I mean seriously.  I was that chick who wore Chuck Taylors and ripped tights, jean mini skirts and vintage tees.  I went to shows, not concerts, of bands that were too small to play their best friend's basement.  I talked smack about anyone who liked "mainstream" music and considered myself to be on the cutting edge of all things indy and up and coming.

I was awesome.

And now I'm boring.

I've been thinking a lot about my last few years of university, and seriously, I'm not sure where that rockin' chick is anymore.  I feel like I've lost her.  Fuck, I even spelled rockin' with proper punctuation.  How ridiculous is that?!

I digress.  The point is, I can't remember the last time I went to a show.  I can't remember what it felt like to mosh in a pit that was so intense I thought I would be squashed to death.  I feel like I'm falling apart here!

I don't want to grow up just yet!

Right now, I just want to get drunk, and go out dancing at Zaphod's in Ottawa (which, to be quite honest, I'm not even sure is still there) and catch some punk show that I can mosh at.

Is that too much to ask?

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Peace, Love and Lotus Flowers

Last night, I got a tattoo.

Unlike the first one I got, which was the result of a bit too much to drink (though, as a true doctor of spin, I will make you think I got it for all kinds of deep, philosophical reasons), this one is actually quite symbolic.

As you may know from reading previous posts, I am not a religious person.  

I would consider myself a spiritual person who believes in loving yourself and others enough to treat them, and their beliefs, with respect, doing your best to be the best person you can be and finding pleasure and beauty in the chaos that is life as we know it.

The only time I have felt any sort of spiritual connection has been in dealing with certain people - those who within minutes of knowing them I feel like I've know them for an eternity.  My grandma calls it being an "old soul."  I call it the closest thing to God that I have ever known.  

I had resigned myself to believe that deep spirituality that goes by so many earthly names was just something I would never understand, but I was wrong.  

While in Korea, I visited a Buddhist temple in the heart of Seoul.  I'm not sure if it was the magic of being transported to a silent spot in a city that is always moving, or if I was being touched by Buddha himself, but the feeling was unmistakable.  As I walked around that place, I stood in deep awe.  For the first time in as long as I could remember, I felt at peace.  It's a feeling I get only fleeting glimpses of now, but the impact was immeasurable.

It is for this reason that I chose to get a lotus tattoo.  To remind me of the peace I found in that tiny monastery, and remind me to keep seeking that peace in my everyday life.

In Buddhism, the lotus flower means purity of speech, mind and body which is why it can be seen in many pieces of Buddhist art. The colours of the flower are used to represent aspects of perfection - pink being symbolic of Buddha himself, purple signifying mysticism.

I have always had an affinity for flowers, but one that is so symbolic of my own personal experience as well as things I hope to achieve - it's utter perfection.

I have been told to let it heal before he goes back in to adjust things - but I'm very pleased with the result.  Thanks to Piero Corradetti of Beauty is Pain in Woodville - he does amazing work.  Check out their website at

Enjoy a few shots from that life changing trip and one of my new addition.

And, though it might sound a bit hippy-dippy...

Peace and love, people.  
Peace and Love


Enjoy a few shots from that life changing trip and one of my new addition.

And, though it might sound a bit hippy-dippy...

Peace and love, people.  
Peace and Love

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Time for a change...

I'm stuck in a rut.

I can't seem to figure out how I got here, or, at the moment, how I can get out of it.  I'm frustrated, irritated and grumpy and, unfortunately, taking it out on those around me who love me most.

I think I'm having an age crisis.

I will be turning 29 in March - and yes, for those out there who think I'm just a spring chicken, I know this will sound winy and selfish - but I'm not where I thought I'd be at 29.  Yes, life gets in the way of the best laid plans, but seriously, this is now extending to everything in my life, even the things that used to bring me the most joy.

The worst part of the situation is that there is no end in sight.  I do the same thing every day just to get by - I go to work, I come home from work, I go to jujitsu, I spend my nights alone because Shane's working, no matter how much I clean, my house is a mess, I can't stay up to date with laundry - I'm basically a mess and this will continue into the foreseeable future.  I have nothing to look forward to and it's so depressing.

This is not how I thought I'd spend my first year of marriage, not how I thought I would enter my 30's, let alone how I thought I would spend the end of my 20's.

Anyway, I guess I need a change, but until I find the time, resources and ability to make it, I guess I might as well get used to it.

BAH. :(

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Procrastination is an art

I hate report card time.

It's not because I dislike them - they're an important part of the educational process.
It's not even because I resent having to give up my time to do them.  I kind of had an idea of what I was getting into when I applied to teacher's college.

Report card time sucks for two reasons.

First, getting started is the hardest part.  I say to my husband every year, "don't make any plans for us this weekend, I have report cards to write." and inevitably I end up sitting at my computer, watching the cursor blink and wondering what's up on facebook or checking my email, or googling something really...random, feeling the urge to spontaneously bake or make a 5 course meal....all in an effort to avoid the reports.

Second, once started, it's trying to eloquently word the obvious into sugary bites that say yes, your child who, as I'm told, does no wrong, who is perfect in every way and smarter than Einstein is not only a crumby student, but can also be a total asshole into - Tommy is an enthusiastic student who enjoys hands on activities.  He does need to work on his listening skills.

You may think that politicians can spin - but teachers are the original SPIN DOCTORS.

Anyway, I digress.  This blog, too, has become a way for me to avoid the reports.  As were the coconut pecan banana muffins I baked this morning and the cabbage lentil soup I whipped up after dinner.

I hope you enjoy the soup recipe - you'll have to wait for the banana bread, the recipe card is lost to the piles of paper on my ottomon.

Cabbage Lentil Soup

1 small cabbage (purple has lots of good vitamins in it!)
2 large carrots
1 onion
2 celery stalks
10-15 cremini mushrooms, sliced
2 cloves garlic
1 can lentils, drained and rinsed
1 can diced tomatoes
1 tetra pack of veggie broth
1 can/tetra pack of either vegetable juice or tomato juice (try to find one with low sodium)
2 Tbsp dried rosemary
2 bay leaves

Sautee the onion and garlic until the onions are a nice caramel colour.  Add the other veggies and lightly sautee.  Pour in the entire tetra pack of broth.  Add tomatoes, rosemary, bay leaves and lentils.  Pour in enough veggie juice to fill up the pot and save the rest to add as the liquid evaporates.

Bring to a boil, then lower the temperature and simmer for at least an hour or until all veggies are soft - The longer the better.

Serve as is, or blend in a blender or food processor until smooth.  Serve with crusty bread and butter.