Tuesday, May 29, 2012

to move or not to move

I want to move (I think), but I'm probably the most indecisive person there is. Don't ask me to make a decision about where to go to lunch, because I'll ask that question right back at ya! And don't you dare take me shopping, where I have an internal battle with myself over how bad I actually need something.

So what does that have to do with me wanting to move? Doesn't that seem like I actually am making a decision?!


I have a problem deciding where I want my blog to be.

My other blog was on wordpress, which is why I decided to put this one on blogger instead, just to want to turn around and switch this one to wordpress, as well. Like I said, decisiveness doesn't suit me.

So this is where you come in. I wanted to know your opinions and suggestions on what I should do. There's pros and cons to both sites, and I just need to figure out which has more pros, aka: what do you think as more pros!

Of course now that I'm on blogger I see a lot more pros with wordpress, but when I was using it, I saw more pros to blogger. I seriously should just reside in the gray area where I could worder or blogpress.

Once decided, I want to transform my blog and make it better (which I know isn't hard to do right now!), and then I can feel good about my decision. So please, pretty please, help me out!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

my first 10k race and attempt at a green thumb

And wow...it's already Sunday again, which means I haven't blogged in a week. My bad.

Putting that aside...

This morning I ran in my first 10k. It may seem silly considering I've already ran a half marathon (which I did a full recap of on my other blog and plan to reblog it over here!) and a 5-miler, but never a 10k. It was honestly the perfect distance for where I'm at in my running "career." I think I'll take the summer off, and attempt a second half in 2013 - sounds like a good year to me!

In terms of running races in general though, I think I need to run in more just to get over that initial nervous feeling, because it was all up in me this morning! I pretty much get to a race just before it's about to start just so I don't have the build up of nerves.

For this one today, I got there with 15 minutes to spare, which was just enough time for me to get safety pins and get that number on me!

 The hubby generously took a pic of me pre-race (aka the nicer looking version of me).

The post-race pics aren't as pretty, mainly because I always wear more clothing than I should, and then become overheated while running. Yes, I'm so brilliant.

The hubby couldn't come with me to the race because he had to work, but I somehow coaxed my mom and sister into attending. Ok so I bribed my sister with Starbucks...nbd.

My sister was my professional photog - she took a good action shot of me. But first, let me tell you about the course. Along with a 10k, they also had a 5k and 1k; the track I was on was actually a 5k and 10k peeps just ran it twice. This allowed me to run past my mom and sister halfway, which was so nice when you just wish that you signed up for the 5k instead.

I was happy when it was over and note to self: dress how you planned on dressing even if the weather doesn't feel like it will warm up because it does - hello, you're running!!

Me and the little sis after. I'm surprised she got that close to me. I warned her I was a sweaty mess, but she must love me that much to see past my smelliness.

We hung out for a little bit and then we went to the greenhouse.

I've never had a garden before (especially since I live in a gardenless place - aka townhouse with no lawn), but knew I wanted at least some herbs in some pots on the balcony.  My grandma graciously gave me some old potters a few weeks ago, and they have just been sitting on my balcony with no plant life in them.

So after the race, I asked my mom if we could stop at this one greenhouse we drive by, especially since I knew their herbs were on sale.

$20 later, I had some very nice herbs and a few other things, plus soil to fill those empty potters.

My sister came back to my place and watched me make a mess plant away, which didn't take too long, or maybe I just don't know what I'm doing...hence the 'first attempt at a green thumb' title.

I successfully got everything transferred to pots and here is this final look:

I also have a few peony plants snuck in there that my mom bought me last weekend because I love peonies. I'm pretty excited for them to bloom!

Just disregard the pile of soil in the cardboard box. Like I said, my planting was more like 'scattering soil' - I think I slightly confused it for confetti.

I hope they survive for at least a month, because I'm about to get into what I actually purchased today.

Ok, so I lied - I didn't purchase the chives; they're from my grandma's garden that she dug up for me yesterday. But, I promise the rest I did purchase...like the basil below.

A hot pepper plant (!!!) and kale (!!!!) - clearly I'm a big fan of both.

The herb plant pot - cilantro (my absolute fave), parsley and watercress. 

I lined everything up at the back of my balcony and crossing fingers, eyes and toes that they will grow and survive to give me good food all summer.

And finally, I also got two little plants for inside.

Really interested in seeing how my green thumb is...

QUESTION: How is your green thumb? Or do you have one? AND/OR what is your favourite thing to grow/would want to grow if you had a garden?!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

crispy red pepper chickpea burgers

I may blog and cook sporadically, but when I do both, I try to make them good.

Enter these burgers.

What feels like centuries since I said, "I'm going to attempt to make a crispy chickpea burger" has finally turned into a reality.

And, don't you just love it when it actually turns out?!

It might have been the nice weather in combination with the long weekend, but I finally made it happen.

The stupid thing is, these burgers are ridiculously easy to make. I could have made thousands upon thousands of different chickpea burgers in the time I spent contemplating whether I should do it or not.

Lesson learned.

Crispy Red Pepper Chickpea Burgers

by Char
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 - 20 minutes

Ingredients (3 large patties, 4 -5 small patties)
  • 2 cups precooked chickpeas
  • ¾ red pepper, cut into chunks
  • ¼ - ½ cup sweet onion, in chunks
  • 1 tbsp tahini
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • salt and pepper
  • ¾ cup panko breadcrumbs
1. Preheat oven to 400C.
2. Blend all ingredients but the breadcrumbs in a food processor until almost everything is pureed.
3. Transfer mixture to a large bowl, then add in breadcrumbs.
4. Mix together, and shape into the patties.
5. Place on lightly greased cookie sheet. Sprinkle with olive oil.
6. Bake for 20 minutes, turning halfway, and sprinkling with olive oil again, to increase the crispiness of the burger.
7. Enjoy!

*Note: If barbecuing, reduce the breadcrumbs by a bit, since they get somewhat crumbly in the oven, and reducing will help to not dry them out as much.

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Before baked, they looked like a salmon burger to me.

And after baking, they looked like a chicken burger.

But, sans chicken or salmon, of course!

They were absolutely delicious despite the simple ingredient list. Sometimes I find that the simplest recipes actually work the best. It's when you start complicating things that you get a flop!

We (the hubby and I) paired our burgers with mashed avocado (with a little lemon juice, salt and pepper), sliced tomatoes and sunflower sprouts. I'd also suggest a good sprouted grain bun as an option, as well!

My only complaint was that I didn't double the recipe. Since I chose to make 3 big patties, versus more smaller ones.

I seriously don't think you can ever have too many veggies topped on anything. Period.

Happy Long Weekend to everyone. I hope your weather is an perfect as where I am, and enjoy every bite of these burgers. I know I did ;)

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

tuesday thrills

1. Is it possible to go your whole life allergy-free then all of a sudden get them? Because that seems to be the only thing that makes sense for where this stuffy nose is coming from.

2. I tried Love Grown Foods granola for the FIRST time ever today. I think I was living under a rock before then. My flavour of choice:

3. I also tried So Delicious banana split coconut milk ice cream sandwiches for the first time yesterday. They are also another reason why I think I've been living under a rock up until now. I only ate one, but it could have easily been 5. Edited to add: I just noticed that these delicious little things only have a 100 calories per bar...super bonus!

4. It's crazy, but it's been a while since I've ran outside (considering how nice the weather is lately). I have this weird obsession with watching old Grey's Anatomy episodes, so I would go over to my mom's house and set up my laptop at perfect height to run and watch it (kill two birds with one stone type of deal --> edited: Char had a muuuuch better phrase to put here that I'm going to start using instead...she's so clever! Feed two birds with one scone!!). It was quite a brilliant set up, if you ask me...

Now it's time to be a big girl and run outside, where the sunshine exists.

5. I just discovered from someone's retweet on Twitter that you can listen to the whole new Temper Tramp album, all you have to do is click HERE!!! My fav song by them will always be 'Love Lost' because the first time I heard it was in Australia, and that place is so amazing! Their new album is sounding pretty good...as I listen to it while writing this ;)

6. I haven't taken a 'real' picture since getting an iPhone. It also doesn't help that I had to give my tester camera back a few weeks ago. Plus, the memory card isn't working for some reason on our current camera...so iPhone pictures it is, for now!

7. On Sunday (aka the last day of half-price fraps at Starbucks), I tried a chai tea frap and it was delicious. I wish I had tried it sooner because paying full-price for a frap is just non-sense!

And yes...I got a venti.

8. This is my mom's little cutie and such a fluffy furball mess!

My sis didn't want in the picture, but she's my little cutie ;)

9. I went to my first (our town's second) farmer's market this past Saturday. I didn't get much, but I still consider these some good pick ups!

And lastly...

10. Tomorrow is my birthday and I turn...old (aka: 26). I totally freaked out when turning 25, so 26 shouldn't be as bad...but, why am I still freaking out?!

It also kind of sucks that I have school tomorrow on my birthday. I started on Friday and let me tell you, it's going to be a fuuunnnn 6 weeks. I can already tell. Complete with a lot of crying and complaining to my friends who are strung along with me. We must be crazy!

QUESTION: What are your Tuesday thrills?!?

Thursday, May 10, 2012

my vegan streak

It doesn't seem like very often that I get the chance to explore amazing, new vegan cuisine. Wait, back that up...I know I don't get to explore amazing, new vegan cuisine often!

When you come from a town of 25,000+ people, vegan cuisine isn't exactly the food hot topic. Lucky for me, between staying in Blue Mountain this past weekend (which I documented in pictures) and taking a two day trip to the Cleveland area for the hubby to play in a golf qualifier, I got to experience some amazing vegan option I may have otherwise missed! And boy, would my taste buds have been disappointed!

I want to, first, go back to my pictures from the weekend. Since I was blogging from my phone last post, I didn't get a chance to do any link ups that actually really deserved them. So, first things first, my vegan experience while in Collingwood (aka where Blue Mountain is).

If I could marry a vegan restaurant, it would probably be the one from the weekend - Pure Food Bar. The husband and I ate our two out of three dinners from there, along with smoothie and dessert purchases. Like I said last post, we pretty bought the place last weekend.

If you are EVER in Collingwood, you NEED to try the Truffle Pasta; it's pricey, but so worth it.

I can't even describe how friggen fantastic it was. The flavours were like fireworks in my mouth. I don't want to ever overhype a meal (ahem, husband), but this is up there on my 'need to talk about it' foods!

Apart from this dinner, I also tried the taco wrap, and it was delish as well. What amazed me about this place, is it's not just vegan, but raw vegan.

I loved the dressing on the salad, too. I wish I was a talented vegan and could whip up these amazing things...especially salad dressings!

Ok, so after we left Collingwood and headed back home on Sunday, as soon as early Monday morning rolled around, we were back on the road, this time heading to Ohio.

The husband had already prepared me, telling me that there was a Trader Joe's close to where our hotel was. I had never been to TJ's before so you can just imagine how excited I was. I think we made 4 trips there in the 1.5 days we actually had time to go places other than the golf course.

You can see that I was obsessed from the start.

The big hit for me from there was the hummus and veggie wrap. I'm pretty sure I'm not alone when I say that their hummus has crack in it. It was so good; I couldn't get enough!

It was the afternoon snack we need after a 5 hour car ride!

Then, after the husband played some holes on the golf course to get him ready for the tournament the next day, we hit up Chipotle Mexican Grill. As I was walking around the golf course, I went on to their website and checked what their vegan options were. Luckily, they clearly specify on their website which are vegan friendly, so that made it super easy when I went it because I already knew what I was going to order.

I got the burrito bowl with brown rice and black beans, then of course hot salsa, mild salsa, lettuce, grilled veggies, corn and guac.

It was so good and so filling. I actually took some home and snacked on later once we were in the hotel room. Definitely will be going back there again!

As if I wasn't already on the top of my vegan streak, it got mighty better the next day - I found a vegan bakery. They had me at 'Vegan Sweet Tooth.'

Going in, I told the husband that I wasn't just getting one cupcake, but at least 4, and 4 is what I got...along with a slice of strawberry cheesecake. Yes, I have a problem.

You probably are wondering why if I got 4 cupcakes are there only 2 in the picture...well, you see...we kinda got right into those cupcakes after the hubby finished his golf tourney, and with cupcakes in the room, my memory for taking pictures goes out the window!

I'm normally a vanilla girl (we got 2 different vanilla ones, and 2 different chocolate ones), but here, their chocolate cupcakes were much more moist than the vanilla and just full of flavour!

Either way, vegan cupcakes in general is a win in my book!

And finally, one last win in my vegan streak. Remember the vegan place up in Collingwood? Well when we got our last dinner from there, I had asked if they would mind giving me some extra vegan sour cream on the side as I really wanted to steal some...and they kindly agreed to it.

So last night, I used that lovely vegan sour cream on a glorious baked potato and it was amazing. I think I need to go up to Collingwood more often, spend all my money at Pure and ask for more sides of sour cream.

It's sad that my vegan streak ends there, or simply means I need to keep traveling, and I like the latter so much better!

Monday, May 07, 2012

i've gone to the dark side

This morning I'm actually blogging from my phone, because yes, I've gone to the dark side. I'm now a proud iPhone owner!!

I went without a cellphone in general for over 2 weeks and finally, enough was enough. So far I'm loving it and never again would I choose blackberry before iPhone (sorry RIM!).

I'm not just doing this post from my phone because I can now but because the hubby and I are on the way to Cleveland for him to play in a tourney.

Because I'm not sure how pictures will upload in the blogger app (ie: all together at the end of the post or in between paragraphs where I'd actually like to add them), I'll just assume it's all at once at the end. So here's my first collection of photos taken via iPhone.

Oh and just another thing, on top of traveling to Cleveland today, we actually were away this weekend because the hubby's sister and her fam rented an awesome house in the town where my husband commutes to work anyways! So we got to hang out with them (read: I crashed their party while Tyler worked all day!) and the hubby didn't have to worry about an hour commute each way all weekend! So my picture summary is pretty much of being up there this weekend.

Before I get into the picture segment, I have one last thing to say...we found the best raw vegan place ever to eat!! You'll find a few pics from there because I pretty much took over this weekend. We pretty much provided them their business this weekend also. I can't wait to go back up there. I'm already in withdrawal!

Hope you all had a great weekend and a great week! And wish my hubby some hole in ones in his golf tourney =)

Thursday, May 03, 2012

what i like to snack on and welcome to may!

May is an awesome month. Not just because it's my birthday month...ok, you're right. it's the main reason why May is the best, but it also means that summer is just around the corner (it also means #smoothieaday - but I forgot mine yesterday, oops!!)

As if I didn't wear lulu's all the time already, but warm weather gives me a whole new reason to wear every pair of capri/crop I got going on under the sun! Wunder unders were eyeing me in the store the other day...I think I need a new pair, just because! Plus, they rock and are so comfy! (as I wear a pair right now!)

They're my fav wear everyday crop from lulu.

And what goes good with great everyday clothing? Good snacks to keep you looking good in that everyday clothing.

Here are just a few snacks I've had lately that are mighty tasty.

I wanted to share this first one with you; my take on 'peaches and cream.'

An organic peach cut up with vanilla coconut milk yogurt - as good as the 'tradition' cream part of the peaches and cream.

Another good springy thing I will start incorporating more are salads. I looooove this kale salad, and seriously can't remember why I haven't made it in so long. I guess it was the whole winter thing - doesn't really make you crave salads as much. But with the farmer's market starting up again this weekend, I will be filling up on my fair share of local kale from now on! I made this a few nights ago, and it didn't even last 24 hours. The only downfall: major garlic breath, but so worth it.

I just bought non-dairy cream cheese for the first time (mainly because I was missing cream cheese in my life and I just happened to be in Whole Foods on Saturday!).

I'm very impressed with Tofutti!! They really know how to make a good non-dairy cream cheese. Paired with it, I got Silverhill 'Herb's Garlic' bagels. These bagels are pretty much the bomb at 15g of protein per bagel. Plus, they taste delicious!

Unfortunately, I finished the last bagel yesterday after my 7 mile run, but I definitely think I needed it after that distance. It's the longest distance I've ran in a while. Before it, it was just 5's and one 6.

And yet again, I cannot get enough pancakes!! I made these two mornings in a row. Did without the PB and went hardcore with the berries (raspberry and blueberry). With real maple syrup, these pancakes make my life!

Plus, they keep you stuffed for hours...or maybe I just overeat them. Hmm...

I know this isn't a snack per se, but I've been enjoying iced teas and lemonades in my Starbucks cup that I got over the Christmas break and hardly use. Well, now I'm using it! ;)

And of course I'm loving smoothies, as well (although unpictured!)

Those are just a few snacks I'm enjoying lately!!

QUESTION: What snacks are YOU loving lately?!?!