Enjoying a Quiet Moment, and Plantain Fries!

Hello friends!

For those of you in Southern Ontario, I hope you’re staying nice and warm (and safe) in this glorious winter weather.

Today didn’t actually start out with crazy, blowing snow – it was quite lovely this morning! There was a beautiful, mostly clear sky, with a gorgeous sunrise. A sunrise that I almost missed! No, not because I overslept, but because I was so caught up in the morning rush (and this morning felt particularly chaotic for some reason) that I did not even look outside. Even after my sister told me to look at the beautiful sunrise, I initially said “I’m sure it’s beautiful, but I’m busy!”. Seriously, who is too busy to look outside for 30 seconds?! Apparently I thought I was. After realizing how utterly stupid that was, I luckily had not missed the sunrise, and I took a moment to take it all in. I am so glad that I was able to snap out of it and take a quiet moment to look at the breathtaking sunrise that I thought I was ‘too busy’ to see. Lesson learned for me today (thanks Nikki!).

In other news, I am happy to report that the breakfast fry saga has a happy ending! Third time, really is the charm!

After one completely failed attempt at parsnip fries (you can read about it here if you missed it), and one mediocre attempt at plantain fries,I realized I should give up on trying to use a toaster oven to make fries. So, on my third attempt on breakfast fries, I was inspired by Meg (at Adashofmeg.com), and tried pan-fried plantain fries. They were so easy, and oh so good! Hello new breakfast staple!

The winner!

The winner!

I cut the plantain into fries (fyi – one plantain makes a lot of fries!), and fried them in a pan with olive oil, garlic, and salt. Yum!

Plantain fries

If you are looking for a new savoury breakfast food to try, learn from my mistakes and jump right to the pan-fried plantain fries! I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

Until next time,

Sam

A Recipe Mishap and An Easy One-Pan Lunch

Source: Google Images

Source: Google Images

Well I thought I was going to be sharing a delicious parsnip fry recipe with you today, but due to my recipe being a big fail, that is not going to happen. Cam and I have tried parsnip fries before and we both loved them, so I thought we would give them a try again with eggs for breakfast. To my surprise, our parsnip fries were a huge mess this time around. They were chewy and wimpy and just all around bad.

They actually were so bad that even Cam (who always puts things nicely) had no problem admitting these were ‘not the best’.

Although this may be the universe telling me to stick to my regular oats breakfast routine, I am determined to master some kind of breakfast fry recipe, so I’ll be trying a new kind of breakfast fry tomorrow morning…I’ll keep you posted.

What I thought was going to be a wonderful breakfast…those sneaky parsnip fries!

What I thought was going to be a wonderful breakfast…those sneaky parsnip fries!

Anyways, to save you from the pain of bad parsnip fries, I will instead share a lunch recipe with you. Luckily this one turned out!

 One Pan Sausage Lunch (makes 3 servings):

Ingredients:

One package of Extra Lean Turkey Sausages

2 handfuls of kale

2 Portabella Mushrooms (diced)

2 Zucchini (sliced into rounds)

Oregano and Thyme to taste

Approx. 3 tbsp Olive Oil

Directions:

  • Start by cooking sausages in a large pan.
  • Remove cooked sausages and set aside while you cook your other ingredients.
  • Start cooking your zucchini (let cook for about 5 minutes, stirring often) with desired spices
  • Add your mushrooms and let cook with the zucchini
  • Finally, when your mushrooms and zucchini are cooked and just about ready to be done, add your kale.
  • Cook until kale is wilted
  • Add Sausages back into the pan and mix in with your other ingredients.
  • Let cool and serve!

One-Pan Lunch

I hope you enjoy this recipe!

I want to hear from you!

What was your biggest recipe ‘fail’? 

Do you use any breakfast ‘fry’ recipes?

Until next time,

Sam

Highlights of the Week

This week has been crazy, jam-packed, busy! And who am I kidding, I absolutely love it!

Since this week was such a whirlwind, I thought I would do a post on some of the highlights of the week.

#1: Sushi date with Cam

Sushi

Cam and I love sushi and since we knew we had a super busy week coming up, we decided it would be nice to spend some time together before I had to leave, so what better to do than to go for a sushi date?? We enjoyed every bite of our sushi and left with happy tummies.

#2: Beautiful breakfasts

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Breakfast is quickly becoming one of my favourite meals of the day and I am loving having a bowl of hot oatmeal in the morning with fresh fruit on top. Yum!

#3: Driving a Fiat

Fiat

My Mom and I were both totally captivated by the Fiat commercials and we have wanted to try driving one ever since, and this week I just happened to be lucky enough to get the chance. It was fun, and there were definitely more features than the little car that I’m used to driving (hello automatic windows… yes my regular car has manual windows). I especially enjoyed driving a car with a working radio. Since the latest little fiasco with our own car, our radio no longer works; needless to say, I spent my entire drive in the Fiat singing along with the radio…at the top of my lungs. I was just a little bit sad that my Fiat fun was temporary.

#4: Learning a lot about leadership

Part of the reason this week was so busy was because I was away for work at a session on Leadership. It was such a privilege to be able to attend the session. I learned so much, and weeks like this make me feel so lucky to get paid to do something that I love!

#5: Coming home to my wonderful husband, Ellie, and my own bed (and a clean apartment!)

As much as I loved my time away at the session, it was so nice to come home. As if it wasn’t enough to come home and see Cam and Ellie, and sleep in my own bed again, I got the added surprise of coming home to a sparkling clean apartment! Cam even tackled my crazy messy dressing room (huge kudos for that one!).

This week I will be getting back into my normal routine, and maybe even trying out a new recipe or two…more to come on that!

Happy Sunday friends!

Until next time,

Sam

Tales of Our Crazy Little Puppy

Well friends, I have sadly been out of commission for the past week due to the flu (or the craziest cold I’ve ever had…).

Anyways, now that I am finally starting to feel better I am ready to write to all of you again!

As I sit here writing this blog post, our crazy little puppy is running around my feet chewing on her teether. Yes, my friends, we have a teething puppy on our hands. And let me tell you, a teething puppy is not the same as your normal puppy! Later today we will be taking Ellie to the next set of training classes. We’ve completed the puppy classes and are now on to the “intermediate” classes. So, I thought I would tell you the story about how Eliie “passed” the puppy classes; because, who doesn’t want a good laugh on a Saturday afternoon? This blog is about exploring the little sources of joy, and I’d say humour is a pretty good source.

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Ellie is a pretty hyper and happy puppy, but despite her crazy energy she did really well in her puppy classes. She got all of the commands pretty darn quickly, she was able to focus when she needed to, and we were pretty happy with all of her progress….that is until the very last class (the class where they test everything we’ve learned). So here’s what happened: our little Ellie started teething like crazy and losing her baby teeth on the day of the last class. Thanks Mother Nature for that timing…

The week leading up to the last class, Ellie had been especially good, and she was getting every single command we practiced. I was feeling confident going in to our final class, thinking that with all of our practice Ellie would surely ace everything. Boy, was I wrong. That morning when Ellie started teething, I swore that someone swapped our adorable, eager-to-please little puppy in the middle of the night for this crazy, biting, barking, mad dog. This insane puppy of ours forgot every single command that day; she ran at me when I told her to “stay”, she went into play-mode when I told her to “lay down”, blissfully unaware that I was giving her a command, and in our “leave it” command obstacle course she ate every single cookie and took every single toy (and we’re talking about at least 10 cookies and 10 dog toys here).

Picture this: an obstacle course of puppy toys and cookies strewn on either side of a store aisle, and I’m walking this puppy down the aisle saying “leave it” as we pass each toy and cookie, and what does she do? She grabs EVERY SINGLE ONE on the way. She would look up at me with those adorable huge brown eyes and then grab all the cookies and toys her little mouth could hold! And when I say “grabbed”, I really mean “lunged”. She lunged for those cookies like she had never been fed before and gobbled them up instantly! I believe we just about baffled our instructor, who happened to pass us anyway because she said that she knew Ellie had all the commands down the week before (aka she took pity on us and wanted that crazy dog out of there!).

So now, we have a little certificate with Ellie’s name on it for passing puppy training, and while I never thought I would ever keep something so silly, Cam and I put that certificate on our fridge, just to give us a good laugh every time we go by it.

So, now we’re off to our “intermediate classes”; the more advanced classes that we “earned” spot in. I’m sure we will have more stories from those too.

Ellie

That’s all for today. I hope my story gave you a little chuckle.

Have a great weekend!

Sam

A Lesson in Self-Trust

Sometimes you have to learn to trust yourself and your own experiences, even if that means doing something that might appear to be out of the norm to someone else.

Think outside the box

Yesterday I found myself sitting down to work on a project plan at work that has been challenging me for quite a while now. I was finding that I didn’t have the time to finish it and the project was complex enough that I was feeling very intimidated. So, I decided to take all of yesterday and devote it to this project plan. That was my first ‘win’ on this one. I knew I needed a big chunk of time to do this. But, I still felt like I was spinning my wheels. I was having trouble visualizing the whole project and all of the complex little pieces that were involved, and you can’t make a project plan without the details!

So, I stopped myself in my tracks and decided to think about things a little bit differently. I asked myself “if I was given this task in school, and could approach it any way I liked then how would I approach it?” The answer was pretty simple: I would use a mind map to visualize all of the different deliverables and the different layers of the project. That was when the nattering little self-doubt voices crept in and said “no one else around here seems to use mind maps, so that must be the wrong approach”, and I nearly passed up the idea. But, then it occurred to me that just because the approach might be different, it is not necessarily wrong; in fact, I had been having so much trouble with the standard approach I was using that something different actually just might be my ticket to success. Key realization here: different ≠ wrong.

With that, I sat down and created my mind map and I ended up with a multilayered, beautiful, colour-coded map that was the perfect foundation to use for my project plan! By the end of the day I had finished my entire project plan; all because I actually took the risk of trying something differently than what I saw others doing, and trusted my own past experiences.

I thought I would take that lesson that I learned and document some of the key take-aways from it:

  • Work with yourself, not against yourself: Even though I had several years of being a successful student under my belt, I immediately discredited my own experiences when I entered a new environment. This was completely unnecessary, and even detrimental. By recognizing what has worked for me in the past, I allowed myself to step out of the box that I had put myself in and be successful in the task at hand.
  • The importance of positive self-talk: As soon as I was able to turn my negative self talk into positive, actionable statements I found myself moving forward with my work. Instead of telling yourself “This is too challenging, I don’t know where to start” you can say something more along the lines of “this is a challenge; how have I approached these kinds of challenges in the past? What has worked for me?”.
  • Allow yourself to be unique: Acknowledge that doing something differently is not wrong! You can approach things in your own way, which may be different than the standard way of doing things. The main thing is that you are able to achieve your outcomes, and if that means breaking away from the norm, that is ok! Do what works for you! 

I would love to hear your ideas:

How do you allow yourself to ‘think outside the box’ and be your own unique person?

How do you use positive self-talk?

Enjoy your weekend!

Until next time,

Sam

My First Ever Original Recipe: Creamy Chocolate Breakfast Bowl

When it comes to breakfast I have a couple of main staples that I seem to rotate: smoothies, oatmeal, and some form of overnight oats. Even though those are only 3 staples, I find there are so many variations you can try that I don’t get bored.

Lately I’ve been having fun experimenting with chia seeds, and I’ve come up with a recipe for ‘overnight oats’ that I absolutely love, and I hope you love too! But, there’s a catch… there are no oats in this recipe… and here’s the thing: I don’t even miss them! I usually go to the gym on my lunch, so my breakfast has to be enough to get me through my morning at work and then through my workout, so I was worried that removing oats from my breakfast would hurt my energy, but it hasn’t.

Ingredients:

1/4 cup coconut (shredded)

1/4 cup finely chopped almonds

1 1/2 tbsp. chia seeds

½ cup milk (I used almond)

1 tbsp chocolate PB2

Sweetner of your choice (You can use granulated or liquid: I have tried the recipe with Splenda, and honey and they both work well)

Directions:

  1. Chop your almonds into small pieces (I used my food processor for this, but you could use a magic bullet, or chop them yourself)
  1. Add all of the dry ingredients together and mix.
  1. Add ½ cup of milk and stir.
  1. Sweeten to taste.
  1. Cover and put in the fridge for at least 30 minutes (you can leave it in the fridge overnight if you prefer).
  1. Add your toppings of choice (FYI my biased opinion is that bananas are the perfect combo with this breakfast bowl).

I like to make this the night before in a mason jar to save myself time in the morning and then I just grab it and head to work – no fuss.

So there you have it: a delicious bowl of breakfast goodness that will keep you going through to the lunch hour. Let me know if you try it!

Happy Thursday!

Sam

Top 3 Teas: as told by a self-proclaimed tea addict!

Good morning!

I hope you’re all staying nice and warm! It’s a frosty -32 here in Peterborough, and I know we’re not alone in this cold, so stay warm and safe wherever you are!

With what feels like the sudden arrival of this crazy Canadian winter, I’ve elected to try and stay warm by drinking even more tea than usual, so it seems appropriate to write a post about some of the teas that have been my favourites lately. I’ve picked three to talk about today: Apple Custard, Yogi Berry, and Forever Nuts.

Apple Custard:

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I was so excited to get this baby for Christmas and I knew as soon as I smelled it that I would love it. Cam and I cracked it open for our movie night last week and a day later we had already finished it off – yes it’s that good. It has a really nice fruity flavor, and a subtle hint of vanilla. The vanilla totally makes this tea; it tastes smooth and creamy (everything you’d hope for in an apple custard tea).

Yogi Berry:

IMG_1939

Yesterday I read that this tea was the “tea of the month”: the result? I dragged Cam to the mall with me right after work to try it – it did not disappoint! We both loved this one. It was light and fruity (hello, strawberries), with a hint of spice from the ginger and kombucha. It’s the perfect combination of fruity and spicy. Given the weather we had it hot, but I think it would be delicious iced as well.

Forever Nuts:

Blog Post 3 - Forever Nuts

This is definitely not a new tea, but I just keep coming back to it. It was the very first David’s Tea I ever tried. I was love at first sip and I’ve been drinking it ever since. It’s nice and light, and has a hint of sweetness, and an added bonus of no caffiene. The almond flavour perfectly balances the sweetness of the apple chunks. I actually love this tea so much that I keep a stash at home and in my desk at work.

So there you have it – my favourite teas of the moment (and a little glimpse at just how obsessed I am with tea).

I’d love to hear from you – let me know what your favourite tea is!

Have a great Wednesday everyone!

Sam

Thoughts for A Great 2015

Source: Google Images

Reflecting on areas I would like to work on in 2015, I found myself thinking about some of the lessons I’ve learned practicing yoga this year.

As a beginner to yoga, I’ve found that there are so many little pearls of wisdom in each practice, but one of the things that we talk about at yoga that really resonated with me is the concept of “letting go of what no longer serves you”. Most of the classes at my studio begin with letting go of our day and being present, and I have found this practice challenging, but so rewarding. Let’s be honest, getting into “yoga-mode” at the end of the day can be hard – but totally worth it!

So, what do I mean when I talk about “letting go” and “being present”?

I have found that when I’m truly mindful, it’s often the little day-to-day annoyances that I really need to let go. An example that I’m sure many people can relate to is the anger you feel when you’re driving and something out of your control happens; like another driver cuts you off. The driver is long gone within a few moments, but the emotion that you feel as a result of the incident remains and you are the one left to deal with your anger. So why waste time and energy on something that will not serve you? My answer: don’t! I know…easier said than done, but holding on to feelings like anger, self-doubt, or guilt can weigh us down and stop us from being able to fully enjoy things.

When we let go of what no longer serves us, we make room for things that do; more room for positive thoughts that will guide the rest of our day and breed more positive thoughts, and more room to enjoy the moment and truly be present.

Anyways, now that I have shared some of my own reflections, I’ll get off my soapbox and let you share some of yours!

Have a great night everyone!

Sam

Jumping In

Well today is an exciting day. A day I have been thinking about for quite a while now.

WritingThe day I actually sit down and create my own blog. And yes, I chose the most cliché day of the year to finally do it (sorry friends…).

I have wanted to get the ball rolling for a while now, but finishing a Masters degree, starting a new job, getting married, and taking care of an adorable little puppy has been pretty darn busy. So now, here I am settling in to my new routines and finally ready to give this blog all of the effort and time it deserves.

I want to use this blog to explore some of my passions and everyday interests: food, cooking, fitness, and the power of positivity (with the added bonus of being able to write – another love of mine). I decided to name my blog “Joyful and Whole” because I wanted to find a way to combine all of the passions I just mentioned into one blog and explore all of the little day to day joys and all of the little quirks and passions that combine to make a “whole” person.

I suppose that gives you a little glimpse of who I am, but maybe I will take the time to introduce myself for anyone who doesn’t know me.

I am a 23-year-old public servant, and I work in HR for the Government of Ontario. I just finished my Masters degree in Public Administration this year, and I’ll just be honest from the very beginning here – I love school and I’m already itching to take some more courses on the side.

After spending 5 years away from home for school, I managed to snag a contract in Peterborough (my home town), and now I’m enjoying spending some time with my wonderful family and amazing husband (and of course, our crazy puppy Ellie).

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Well friends, thanks for stopping by, but there’s an Apple Custard tea calling my name (you’ll catch on pretty quickly that I have a bit of a tea obsession).

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Until next time,
Sam