Forward is the Only Way

Wherever you’re headed, the only way to get there is to move forward. If you have a dream, a goal, or a plan, you can’t get there by going back in time. Oh, you can revisit the past. You can consider what you’ve learned and incorporate that into your wayfinding plan. You can understand if you’ve had patterns of behaviour that have been holding you back. Getting stuck or weighed down by your mistakes, though? That’s no use to you at all.

Deal with what you must deal with. Maybe you need to grow, or find a coach to help you through issues you have to face. Perhaps you have amends to make. Don’t delay, just get those over with, too. People may or may not accept  your apology – remember that your timeline is not the same as theirs. Do the work, and trust that it will play out as it should. Once you’ve done that, move forward with confidence. Second-guessing is simply allowing our old friends fear and doubt to cloud your perfectly-good judgement. For the most part, you’ll be presented with multiple opportunities for course correction. So start, and take that first step. The sooner you do, the sooner you’ll be on your way.

 

Fill Yourself Up!

In an ongoing quest to be better every day, I’m always working on health as one of my priorities, and that starts with walking, and also with eating well. Filling yourself up is important – starvation, deprivation, and denial just aren’t sustainable. So instead it’s really helpful to focus on putting as many good things into a meal as possible. Empty calories are easy to banish when you choose lots of healthy vegetables, brilliant colours, lean protein – with a nod to Michael Pollan, mostly plants! This tasty salad has sweet potato, peppers, red onion, pink beans, and a tasty curry vinaigrette (equal parts Dijon, cider vinegar, canola oil, and a teaspoon or so of curry powder for each serving).

There’s more to filling yourself up to eating, though – something I have been discussing with a friend quite a bit lately.  It’s important to fill your mind with positive, helpful, forward-moving thoughts. Often when we are overwhelmed with trying to help others, we forget to take care of ourselves – but the oxygen-mask rule can help keep us on track. If you’ve ever flown on a plane, you’ll recall that they tell you to put your own mask on before helping others. That’s because if you aren’t filled up (with air), you won’t be any good to anyone. So my favourite fill-up method is to get out for a good brisk walk, early in the morning as the city is waking up, and to drink in the sights and sounds around me. Today I was particularly inspired by the sunlight filtering through the trees in Allen Gardens – just steps away from skyscrapers and streetcars. That alone has filled me up with enough gratitude to last all day.

 

Fuel Up! Keep Your Body and Mind in Shape…

When you start to think of food as fuel, instead of comfort, you re-evaluate what you eat all the time. Salty, sugar-y treats don’t look so appealing any more. But in a busy life, it can be difficult to figure out what to cook. One of my go-to dishes when I’ve had a long, stressful day is homemade pizza. We make the whole thing ourselves, starting with the crust. Here’s how:

Turn on your oven to 425F so it will be ready.

In a measuring cup, put 3/4c of warm water with 1t of maple syrup or sugar, if that’s what you have. Sprinkle with 1T of yeast and let it rest. I sit mine on the stove since that will be giving off some warmth. While that happens, relax. Have a glass of water. Check your Facebook. Read a blog. Give yourself a little neck massage. Put away some laundry. Whatever.

Next, stir the yeast mixture and pour into a medium bowl. Sprinkle in some oregano, hot sauce or smoky paprika for  flavour. If you don’t have any, no worries! It’s good plain. Add whole wheat flour, stirring in with a fork in a circular motion, a little at a time until it begins to come away from the sides of the bowl. Then sprinkle a little flour on the counter, dump the dough on that, sprinkle with a tiny bit more, and knead a couple of times to form a ball (not for ages, maybe a minute at most).

Spray the bowl with cooking spray or oil it lightly, and put your dough ball back in. Cover with a tea towel and put it in a warm place (like the top of the stove) to rise for 10 minutes.

Put a piece of parchment paper on a cookie sheet or pizza pan. This will save you cleanup time! Pat the dough out to the size of the pan on the parchment, using floured hands to keep from sticking. Top lightly. For this one we used 1/2c marinara, a few sliced mushrooms, and a diced red pepper. If you eat dairy, add cheese – 2oz of feta and 2oz of manchego. That’s it! Bake for 18 minutes, cool slightly, and serve. For two, you can do 6 slices, and save 2 for breakfast. Ready in less time than to select, order, and wait for delivery. The best part? When you get up as early as this to fit in a walk the next morning…

…when you come back home for breakfast, those extra slices will be waiting. Great topped with a poached egg! Feeling grateful, hope you are as well.

Never underestimate the power of a healthy start…

  Right out of the gate most mornings, we walk or go to the gym. Not a leisurely stroll, but a brisk pace, almost a run. Himself having longer legs, I have to work a little harder to keep pace. Then, back home, we have breakfast before setting to work on the day’s tasks. Once in a while our schedule means we don’t get the walk in until later in the day, and when that happens, we notice a difference. Keeping fit and eating good food, prepared from scratch gives us energy and we feel sharper and better able to cope with the day – however it turns out. We’re grateful we can afford good food, but we have also found that eliminating processed food from our diets isn’t any more expensive, especially if we plan our meals and avoid waste by using what’s on hand and buying just what we need to round out the menu. 
This tasty oatmeal is made in less than ten minutes using large flake or steel cut oats.

For two, in a microwave-safe bowl:

3/4c oats

1-1/2 c water

1 large Apple, diced

2 T chopped nuts or seeds

Sprinkle of cinnamon

Cook on the oatmeal setting, or alternately, 3 minutes on full power plus 5 minutes on 50% power. Enjoy with milk or nut milk if you prefer, and a little maple syrup.

Good Habits Die Hard!

  

For the first day in what seems like ages, we aren’t getting our exercise by chucking hundreds of kilos of snow and ice around. But all that “necessary exercise” has made us feel fitter and more able to push ourselves during our regular workouts, as we return to normal. Not only that, but local spring veg (albeit indoor-grown) are making an appearance to give us hope. This morning, homemade whole grain bread topped with local cream cheese, sliced tomato and cucumber, a poached egg, and a little chipotle powder to wake up the taste buds.

Thanks to Denise MacLean pottery for making the beautiful mug!

Hashtag #leftovercornedbeef



The second best thing about St. Patrick’s Day is the day after. Assuming you paced yourself with the boiled dinner, there’s enough left for hash the next day. Cook it all up in a nonstick pan and top with an egg. If you’re worried about the calories, don’t forget: move more. Fortunately with yet another blizzard assaulting the city, we know exactly how we will be doing that.

Fuel Me Once…

Yesterday’s meetings finished late enough that we didn’t get home until the slush in the driveway had frozen into a rutted, slippery mess. So on today’s agenda, scraping and hacking. Lots of it. Clearly, fuel is needed, so this paradise rye French toast fit the bill. Paired up with a Full Steam coffee and some Acadian Maple syrup, and we’re ready to face what nature has doled out.

Thanks also to Krista Oland at Morning Sun Pottery for making these beautiful mugs!



A fishy take on leftover pizza

A couple of nights ago we made our homemade pizza (check out the artichoke pizza recipe in the Recipes tab). This time it was 100% whole grain flour – a mix of spelt and wheat. For the toppings, olive pesto, red pepper, mushroom, anchovies, feta and mozzarella – a light touch on the cheese so the crust doesn’t steam. It has a delicious crispy, nutty flavour.

This morning, with a nod to the French, the Italians, and anyone else who thinks egg on pizza is inspired, we topped the leftovers with a perfectly poached egg.

Our return to post-holiday fitness is on track and things are (ahem) firming up nicely. On today’s agenda, a good long walk. This should give us enough energy to get that done.

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For a Warm Winter Breakfast, go Left (overs)

The régime is going well and we are eating healthfully every day. That doesn’t mean we don’t crave flavour! To eat healthily and lose weight, in fact, flavour is critical. So is fibre. Today’s breakfast has lots of each – and after an invigorating workout, it will keep us fueled no matter what Mother Nature throws at us.

The toast is old fashioned porridge bread – you can find the recipe in the recipes tab. Scroll waaaaaay down…it’s an old favourite. On the side, homemade molasses (veg/vegan) baked beans and Mark Bittman’s fennel gratin, topped off with a poached egg. Life is what you make of it. We made this.

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As shown, 367 calories, 10g fat, 9g fibre.

A New Year of Eating Healthily, Frugally and Locally

Another year, friend. It seems like only yesterday we were eating like it was 2014. We hope you’ll join us on our journey as we fuel ourselves mindfully and with gratitude.

Of course there are an abundance of diet books that would refute our choice of breakfast to start the year, but common sense dictates that we don’t throw away food. So instead we continue to use up leftovers in a thoughtful way. No toast today…except to our healthier selves…our repast begins with buttery steamed cabbage, roasted baby potatoes from our garden, applewood smoked bacon, and fresh eggs. The coffee isn’t local but is from a local roastery, served in a beautiful mug from my sister’s local potter, Krista Oland.

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Later today we will join with friends at St. Anthony’s to give thanks for the day, and then perhaps a hike or a stroll on the wintry beach to start the year off right. We wish health and happiness to you and yours.