Friday, January 31, 2014

Puppy Chow

Puppy Chow, Muddy Buddies, Crack Mix. Whatever you call it, it is to die for. 

I have seen so many recipes and so many different versions I knew it had to be awesome. So I thought I would see what all the hype was about and mix up a batch to bring to the office.

I decided to try a basic recipe as I had most of the ingredients on hand but I’ve seen Chocolate Mint versions, Funfetti versions, even Red Velvet. The possibilities are endless. And with the rave reviews I got at work I’m sure I will be making it again.

  • 10 cups of original Chex cereal
  • ½ cup of butter
  • ½ cup of smooth peanut butter
  • 1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • ½ cup of milk chocolate chips
  • 1 tsp of vanilla
  • 1 ½ cups of icing sugar

1. Measure out the Chex into a large bowl. Divided the icing sugar into 2 large ziplock bags and line 2 large baking sheets with wax paper and set both aside.

2. In a saucepan over low heat, melt the butter and peanut butter. Remove from the heat and mix in the chocolate chips until completely melted and smooth. Add in the vanilla then pour over the Chex.

3. Ensure each piece of cereal is coated, then divide it evenly into the 2 ziploack bags. Shake the bags so that all of cereal is coated, pour out onto the baking sheets to dry. Store in an airtight container in the fridge….betcha can’t eat just one! ;)

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Meatball & Tortellini Soup

 And spinach, there’s also spinach! ;)

I found this recipe on a fitness site. But seeing how most of ingredients are processed, I wouldn’t say it’s healthy, low cal, sure. HOWEVER, if you made your own meatballs from scratch using lean ground turkey or chicken and you used whole wheat tortellini it would definitely kick the nutrient value up. (This new way of thinking is all thanks to the Cameron Diaz book, I’m a changed women!)

  • 1 tbsp of olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 carton of low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 package of cheese tortellini
  • 20 precooked chicken meatballs
  • 2 cups of fresh baby spinach leaves
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste
  • Parmesan cheese

1. Boil tortellini until Al dente, drain. Meanwhile, in a large pot heat the oil and garlic for about 2 minutes. Add in the chicken broth and water, bring to a boil.

2. Add in the meatballs and bring down the heat to a simmer. When the meatballs are heated through, add in the tortellini, spinach and salt and pepper. Serve immediately, garnish with fresh grated parmesan. Serves 4.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Greek Orzo Salad

This past weekend was 10 degrees which is like t-shirt weather for us Albertans. So I decided that I could get away with making a cold pasta salad that I would normally reserve for summer BBQ days. It’s light and fresh and a great way to use up some veggies that you may have in the fridge.

  • 2 cups of uncooked orzo, cooked
  • 1 cup of fresh diced tomatoes, or halved cherry tomatoes
  • 1 cup of fresh sliced cucumber
  • 1 sweet pepper, diced (red, orange or yellow)
  • ½ cup of sliced Kalamata Olives
  • 1 tbsp of red onion, finely diced
  • ½ cup of feta cheese, crumbled
  • 2 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 tbsp of white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp of lemon juice
  • 1 tsp of basil or parsley
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

1. In a large bowl, combine the cooled orzo and veggies.

2. Add in the olive oil, vinegar and lemon juice along with the basil or parsley. Mix well.

3. Mix in the feta, THEN add salt and pepper to taste. (Feta is very salty on its own so be sure to do it in that order and taste it so you don’t over salt it) Serve cold.

Keeps in the fridge for 2-3 days. Serves 4 as a side dish.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Maple Dijon Chicken No Marinade, Marinade

Wait…what? That’s right folks! This chicken marinade is full of flavor even without sitting in the sauce all day long. You just mix it up, pour it on the chicken and bake. Great weeknight recipe especially if you're like me, and 9 times out of 10 forget to marinade the meat until an hour before dinner!

  • ½ cup of Dijon mustard
  • ¼ cup of real maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp of white wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 tsp of rosemary
  • Seasoning Salt

Great amount for 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts.

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. In a bowl or measuring cup, mix together all of the ingredients (except for the seasoning salt). Place the chicken in a glass baking dish and pour the marinade over the chicken. Turn chicken to coat. Lightly sprinkle the seasoning salt over the chicken and then bake for approx. 35 mins or until the chicken is cooked through. I usually cut the biggest one open to ensure no pink remains. (Hence the massacre in the photo)

Sunday, January 26, 2014

My Top 5 House Warming Gift Ideas

After our big move we got some great housewarming gifts from friends and family. It also got me thinking of other ideas that I would/did find super useful so I thought I would compile a list for my future self and any other interested parties (AKA you guys!) So here are some ideas that I think would be great success!

1 – Gift Bucket of Cleaning Supplies
You cannot go wrong with this one! Personally I get super excited about this type of thing but even if the receiver doesn’t they will find it extremely useful!
Here’s a photo of the one we got: (Thanks again Julie!)

2 – Nebulizer from Sage
I have already ranted about these in a previous post as I am totally addicted!
These are basically cool air humidifiers that you can add anyone of their amazing smelling diffuser blends to and it will diffuse the scent throughout the room. My current favorite is the "Yoga" scent. It will make their new home smell amazing while adding a little aroma therapy to their lives.

3 – A Home-cooked Meal
If the mover is anything like me by the time they move in they will be craving healthy home cooking and meals that are served on a plate and not a takeout box. Chinese food and pizza gets old quickly. Bringing over a lasagne or casserole will be a light at the end of the tunnel. It took us a few days before we even had time to get groceries so by that point we had cold pizza for breakfast lunch and dinner.Yuck!

4 – Gift Certificate for having your Vehicle Detailed
After taking loads of boxes in your car having it cleaned by someone else this will be a god send! Especially since getting settled into your new place takes time, chances are you won’t be focusing on anything else for at least a month. Having your car all spick n span will make you feel so much better.

5 – Gift Basket of Useful Household Items
Things like Goof Off, Nails, Felt Furniture Pads, Light Bulbs, Extension Cords and so on. Again, this is something that will get used. And let’s be honest, as much as we need these things it really sucks having to buy them especially since moving can hard on the wallet.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Cameron Diaz – The Body Book

I must confess, I am not actually reading this book. I am listening to the audiobook. I’m a multitasker at heart and sitting still to read a book is very hard for me. Even when I watch TV I like to bake or organize something. I started listening to it in the car on my way to and from work and while on the elliptical and I must say I am really enjoying it. Not just the book but also the act of being entertained while doing two things that I normally find boring.

I am a few chapters/hours in and I am really enjoying it. She talks about food and health in a different way than I’ve heard before. She breaks it down so it’s easy to understand and it just clicks. I have a “Duh” moment every time I listen. She gets down to the basics and actually explains things, for example what exactly gluten is. I probably talk to ten people a day that are on a gluten free diet and claim it’s the devil but I have never before heard what it is and what purpose it serves. She also talks about how being hungry is a good thing and should be embraced. It’s basically your body’s fuel light blinking indicating you are getting low. And I’ve always known that whole grains are so much better than white rice, white pasta or white bread but now I know why. And that helps making better choices so much easier!

It’s definitely worth a read or a listen! I guarantee you will learn something you didn’t know before. And it’s written in such a way that it’s as much entertaining as it is informative.

Oh and if you choose to buy the audio book over the hardcover, it comes with a PDF full of pictures, charts and diagrams to better help you understand what she's discussing.

She released this photo to promote her book, wearing no makeup. Koodos to her! :)

Wednesday, January 22, 2014


If I would have known how easy and yummy it would be to make it my own hummus I would have started doing it long ago! I whipped a batch last weekend and I’m in love! Its way better than store bought and obviously way better for you as it’s not processed. I think I’ll have to start making it on a weekly basis to keep in the fridge alongside crackers and peppers as a healthy snack!

  • 1 can of chickpeas (19oz)
  • ¼ cup of tahini paste
  • 3 tbsp of lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 tsp of cumin
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 4 garlic cloves

1. Place all of the ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. I tasted and adjusted a few things along the way so you may need to as well, but this recipe is a great base.  

Makes about 1.5 cups

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Creamy Avocado Pasta

This is one of the most surprising recipes of all time! Who would have ever thought to use avocado as a pasta sauce?! Well whoever they are, they totally deserve a metal! This pasta was AMAZING! I guess trying new things does pay off. This one’s definitely going into the regular meal rotation!

  • 3 medium sized ripe avocados
  • 20 – 30 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 4 tbsp of olive oil
  • ½ tsp of salt
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 1 tbsp of lemon juice
  • 4 Servings of fettuccine pasta
  • Grated fresh Parmesan cheese

1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the tomatoes on a small baking sheet and toss with 1 tsp of olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt and bake for approx. 30 minutes.

2. While the tomatoes are baking and the pasta is cooking. Put the peeled and sliced avocados in the blender or food processor along with the olive oil, garlic, lemon juice and salt. Blend until it’s smooth and creamy. At this point I would suggest tasting it, and adding more salt, lemon juice, or salt to your tasting.

3. Drain the pasta and place in a large bowl, toss with the sauce until it’s evenly coated. Plate and sprinkle with the roasted tomatoes and Parmesan.

Makes approx. 4 servings.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Chicken & Black Bean Bake

Even though I meal plan every week, I feel like we’re always eating the same things. There are millions of great recipes out there, and then there we are every Tuesday having Tacos. It’s going to be my goal to try out at least one new recipe each week. If we like it, then we can add it to the rotation, if not, then at least we tried something new!

This recipe caught my eye because it’s relatively easy and actually pretty healthy. It’s also versatile in the sense that you could add/remove certain ingredients and it would still turn out nicely. Some people make it vegetarian by excluding the chicken and substituting the chicken broth with vegetable broth. Others added fresh or fire roasted tomatoes.

  • 1.5 cups of brown rice, cooked in 3 cups of chicken broth
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 medium zucchini, sliced and halved
  • 1 cup of mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 2 chicken breast halves, chopped
  • Seasoning salt to taste
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 can of black beans (14 oz)
  • 1 can of diced green chile peppers (4 oz)
  • 1 – 2 cups of shredded cheese, I used a combo of marble and Parmesan but pretty much any hard cheese would do!

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and lightly grease a 9 x 13 glass baking dish.

2. In a large pan or wok, cook the chicken breast along with the olive oil until it’s no longer pink. Add in the garlic, onion, zucchini, and mushrooms. Sprinkle with seasoning salt and cook until the vegetables are slightly browned.

3. Add the beans, chile peppers and cooked rice until well incorporated. Mix in half of the cheese and transfer to baking dish. Sprinkle the top with the remaining cheese and bake for approx. 20 minutes or until the cheese on top is melted and slightly brown.
Makes approx 6 servings.

Monday, January 13, 2014

DIY Vehicle Trash Bin

Wow, what an awful title for a post! But I just had to share this idea with you!

I saw it on a Pinterest a while back and wanted to do it ever since! Line a plastic cereal container with a bag and use it a little trash bin for your car. It has a lid and is nice and compact so it works perfectly!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Paper Roses & Twigs

When I ordered the red paper roses for my sister’s party I also order some of the script ones as well. I wasn’t sure what I was going to use them for but I love them so knew I would figure something out! (On as side note I think they would look amazing on top of a gift wrapped in brown kraft paper instead of a bow)

After an excursion to IKEA where I bought a large glass vase and some dark twisted twigs I busted out the glue gun in hopes of making a masterpiece! First, I arranged the twigs in the vase. I trimmed some of them down around the base as I thought it looked a little odd having them all be the same length. Then I started gluing on the paper flowers as I saw fit. Upon completion I wasn’t sure how I felt about it so I took all the sticks out that has flowers on them to make sure I didn’t like that better. And I didn’t. I thought it looked too plain so I arranged all the twigs back into the vase. This was NOT a good idea. Trying to get these curly twigs with the roses on them back into an arrangement I liked was near impossible. So I highly recommend arranging the twigs first, and once the flowers are glued on…walk away. WALK AWAY! ;)

 In total this little project only cost about $30.00 so if you do change your mind in a few years you won’t get buyer’s remorse if you want to swap out the twigs with something else!

I also ended up doing a smaller version for my office at work. For that one, I got the vase and twigs from Bouclair.

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Argan Oil

My sister is going to put me in the poor house! Here is her latest beauty find - Josie Maran 100 percent Pure Argan Oil.

Argan Oil is rich in vitamin E and essential fatty acids so it’s naturally great for your hair, skin and nails. You can use it at night as a moisturizer or a cuticle softener. I have been using it on my many split ends and it’s a god send! If I won the lottery, I would literally bath in this stuff!

As stated in its name it’s 100% pure so you’re not buying any synthetic fragrances, dyes or other “crap” that you don’t really want. Just pure goodness!

You can pick some up at Sephora or at Joise Maran Cosmetics. After using the Argan oil I am super excited to try other Joise Maran products as everything is natural and eco-friendly. Nothing better than looking good while doing good! ;)

Saturday, January 04, 2014

Chocolate Banana Bread

Blame it on the PMS. When chocolate becomes a necessity…

Regular B Bread is one of my favs but this is definitely a nice change everyone once in a while, or once every month! ;) Enjoy!

  • 1/2 cup of butter, unsalted
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 overly ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 tsp of vanilla
  • 1/2 cup of sour cream
  •  1 1/4 cups of flour
  • 1tsp of baking soda
  • 1/4 cup of cocoa powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup of semi sweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and butter a loaf pan.

2. In a large bowl or kitchen aid, beat the butter and sugar until it's light and fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix well. Add the bananas and sour cream just until combined.

3.  Mix in the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt until the batter is smooth. Mix in the chocolate chips and pour into the loaf pan.

4. Bake for approx 60 - 70 minutes or until a tooth pick comes out clean. Cool before cutting.

Friday, January 03, 2014

Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus

I will definitely be making these again! I made some with puff pastry and some without. Both were great but depending on how many other pastry type items you would be serving, the naked ones (without the pastry) would be my pick. Plus that way they are gluten free which is nice if you’re feeding a crowd as in experience there is always at least one person that doesn’t eat gluten.

This one doesn’t really require a recipe, all you do is wrap prosciutto around the trimmed down asparagus and bake on an ungreased baking sheet for 10 – 15 minutes. The prosciutto will look a little brown and caramelized when it’s ready. If you want to jazz it up with some puff pastry just roll some out, cut it into strips and wrap around the asparagus and prosciutto in a spiral. This version might take a little longer in the oven, the pastry will puff up and get golden.