This delicious ginger, tumeric butternut squash recipe is simple and a good anti inflammatory. Creamy and smooth and made vegan. See the full recipe for non vegan substitutes,Read More
Warm salad recipe with brussel sprouts and green cabbage. Super simple dressing recipe included.Read More
It's cold and rainy (actually even some snow!) here and it's a stay inside and be warm and cozy day!
Sooooo... it's perfect tomato soup time, especially since you likely don't have to go to the grocery store to get any ingredients. Super simple, super yummy.
- 1 can of crushed tomatoes (or just smash up some actual tomatoes)
- 1 cup of broth (chicken or vegetable)
- 1 tbsp of basil. I used some dried stuff from my garden, fresh is great too.
- 1 cup of milk
- salt and pepper to taste
- Throw it all in a pot and let simmer for about 20-30 minutes. Canned tomatoes will need a longer cooking time to get the tin flavour out.
- Once simmered and reduced a bit, blend it to get a smooth texture. I used my hand immersion blender, but especially if you have a fancy big blender it would work too!
I'm curious how you eat your tomato soup? Here I've got a few croutons, sometimes I like to add cheese and almost always serve it with a grilled cheese sandwich!
Jen The Bitchin' Housewife
Feel Good Syrup is a locally brewed elderberry syrup for immunity and good overall health. I use the Feel Good Syrup in the fall to help boost the immunity as we start to go inside and germs are everywhere! Anyone with kids knows, September and October is when everyone seems to get sick!
The main ingredient in the Feel Good Syrup is Elderberry. Elderberry is a powerful immune booster. But not as well known, this berry also relieves congestion and is great for Spring time to help with congestion in the sinuses and chest from allergies!
So I've teamed up with Feel Good Syrup to help you get some relief this Spring. Enter here on the blog to win a bottle of this amazingness by telling me which spring time irritants do you suffer the most from?
Winner must live in Edmonton and Area to pick up from St. Albert. Good Luck!
Jen The Bitchin' Housewife
I like trying to make homemade granola and snack bars, but sometimes all the sugar (even honey) poured into them concerns me. And of course a lot of the store bought ones have it too. I like these for having lower sugar and its that perfect blend of sweet and salty , chewy and crunchy.
I've been testing out this new product called VitaFiber a higher fiber, low calorie natural sweetner in a syrup form. It keeps the sweetness but without all the sugar. They sent me a recipe to try for their Apricot Almond bars, and of course, me being me I made them with a little "bitchin'" flare. (Ok most of the change was adding chocolate.) Who doesn't like chocolate though?
Check out this recipe and let me know what you think!
- Calories: 172
- Fat: 11 grams
- Carbohydrates: 20 grams (Net 9 grams)
- Fiber: 11 grams
- Sugar: 5 grams
- Protein: 4 grams
- 1 1/4 cup almonds (half almonds half cashews taste yummy too)
- 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
- 10 dried apricots
- 1/2 cup puffed rice cereal
- 1 tbsp ground flaxseed
- 2 tsp chia seeds
- 1 bar of unsweetened dairy free bakers chocolate. (can also use Enjoy Life Vegan Chips)
- 1/2 cup VitaFiber IMO Syrup
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla
Putting it together:
- Toast almonds and coconut flakes at 350 degrees for 5-10 minutes.
- Chop up almonds and apricots.
- Add almonds, apricots, coconut, puffed rice, flaxseed, chocolate and chia seeds into a bowl.
- Add VitaFiber syrup, vanilla and salt into a saucepan, bring to a bubble and let simmer for 2-3 minutes
- Add VitaFiber syrup to the fruit and nut mixture. Mix well.
- Add mixture to a lightly sprayed 9x9 dish.
- Let set up for 15 minutes in the fridge.
- Take cooled mixture out of the pan and cut into 12 bars.
Jen The Bitchin' Housewife
Spring has arrived and we are all wanting to get outside. It's too early for sports and splash parks, so what do we do?
There is something to be said for connecting with nature. There is even THIS blog post telling us there is certain bacteria in the dirt that makes us happier! Fresh air, birds chirping and some quality family time.
I take my girls to this secret spot a lot and every time I post videos and pictures of us feeding the birds everyone wonder where we are. The secret? Smack in the middle of Edmonton. Whitemud Ravine Park. It starts just off Fox Drive but we take the Snow Valley Exit down to the first parking lot. Walk a few feet into the trees and the birds are chirping. Squirrels are following you. It's basically like you're Snow White.
The birds are so used to people coming and going and feeding them, you find a spot where they are chirping and hold out your hands with seeds and they come within minutes. My 6 year old is the official Snow White of our family, with in one 15 minute span over 20 times birds feeding from her hands.
You can buy birds seed at a local hardware store. Look for ones with black sunflower seeds in them. They seem to be the favourite. And if you walk far enough (maybe 10 minutes) there is a look out you can sit down at and feed the birds, or if you bring shelled peanuts (be careful if you have allergies) the squirrels come right up and eat them!
So get outside this spring and go for a stroll. Walking is known to help reduce stress and doing it in nature is just that much better.
Jen The Bitchin' Housewife
Super simple way to take healthy ingredient and turn it into something yummy!
- 2-3 Sweet Potatoes
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- salt to taste
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees celsius.
- Slice the potatoes thin. I used my mandolin for even cuts.
- Coat in olive oil and a bit of salt.
- Roast for 30 minutes or until desired crunch I like mine crunchy so left them a bit longer.
- Top with a tad more salt!
Two weeks ago I had my laparoscopy surgery for endometriosis. I of course in my natural nature went on a mission ever since to consume everything I could to help me heal. I found Urban Leaf a local to Edmonton wheatgrass farmer. Yes a wheatgrass farmer. How cool is that?
I got a chance to check out their awesome facility in west Edmonton where they are very scientific about growing the perfect wheatgrass as naturally as possible. Hence their phrase "beyond organic". They keep contaminants out and perfectly timed watering the plants for optimal growth and sweetness.
Since wheatgrass is full of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals its the perfect thing for me post surgery to help heal. Boosting the bodies immune system and alkalizing pH levels not only help with healing post surgeries or injuries but every day life to keep us running. I actually even take mine in the afternoon when I normally have that mid afternoon slump where I used to reach for a coffee to give me that extra boost!
Personally I take the shot straight as it comes, but a lot of people mix into smoothies or dilute with a bit of water.
I love that I don't have to take up counter space or have my own juicer to get such a powerful healthy product. And I hear that soon you might also be able to get ginger and tumeric shots too!!!!!
I'm honoured to have Richelle Ludiwg on the blog today for Fit Chick Friday. Richelle write beautiful message of self love and acceptance and I'm so happy to have her sharing her message. Make sure to check Richelle out!
Certified Holistic Nutrition Practitioner, Cognitive Approach Practitioner and soon to be 200hr yoga teacher
Where to find Richelle
Richelle has a coaching business is all online.
What are your specialties:
I work with women who struggle with the diet-binge/emotional eating cycle and body image. I’m passionate about empowering them to break free from the diet cycle by changing their rigid thinking and awareness around food.
What got you into fitness?
To be completely honest, what got me into fitness was a disordered relationship with food and my body. I saw it as a way to control my body. That being said, I discovered how much I actually love moving my body and my favourite way to do that has changed over the years as I improved my relationship with my body. Now it’s all about being strong, longevity and feeling good! I discovered heavy lifting through Crossfit, which was a different mentality for me as I’d always been stuck in trying to make my body smaller and therefore weaker. With yoga specifically, I started practicing to help me calm my nervous system down as I was in phase 3 Adrenal Dysfunction from years of overexercising and being stuck in the diet-binge cycle. I discovered that it had so much more to offer and during a class was the first time I ever experienced really being in my body and feeling good. This hooked me and I continued my journey with yoga during my process of healing my relationship with my body.
What/Who is your biggest motivation?
My biggest motivation these days is just wanting to live a good life and be able to do the things I love as I age. In my day job I work with a lot of seniors and can see the affects of not moving well. I want to continue to move as best I can as I age. I also want to feel really connected to my body, which is why sometimes I just drop a dance party in the kitchen and that may be my form of movement for the day. I used to use exercise to disconnect, but now I really love to balance that out with movement that allows me to go inwards too.
What are some of your favourite exercises/equipment?
After years of distance running I have developed a real love for strength training. I love deadlifts, squats, pullups and pushups. When I was so focused on being thin, I was really weak and couldn’t do a pullup or pushup to save my life. Now I love being bigger, stronger and more capable.
What is your favourite outdoor activity?
Hiking or backpacking in the mountains! Something I really want to try outdoors is MovNat, but Edmonton has yet to get any instructors that I am aware of!
What is your favourite indoor activity?
Yoga, which can obviously be done outdoors too, and of course strength training.
Any advice you’d like to give to other women?
Be honest with yourself about why you choose the type of exercise you do. It’s important to come from a place of love instead of fear with everything in life, including movement. If you are afraid of gaining weight and using exercise to control your weight, burn calories or punish yourself for eating, this is an unhealthy relationship. Choose movement based on how fun it is, how empowered it makes you feel and how energized you feel after it.
Find Richelle through:
March 1st 2017. How ironic March is Endometriosis Awareness month and here I am two days post surgery from Endometriosis.
I have suffered from Ovarian Cysts for over 10 years (who knows if it's related or not) and just last Spring I was diagnosed with Endometriosis. I have friends who have had it for years and it looked painful but I never really understood what it was.
To be basic about it, it's the cells of your uterus growing outside of your uterus. Which you can imagine with the wanes and waxes of women's cycle's can wreak havoc on the inside.
Many women suffer infertility as a result of this disease. Endometriosis itself has no cure and not any particular reason why women have it for the most part. For me, we believe it to be caused by my c-sections. Cells were transferred from my uterus into my abdomen during the process of my daughter(s) being born. I never seemed to have an issue after my first c section, I only noticed after the birth of my second daughter.
I noticed a small lump on the end of my c-section scar. I sort of noticed it and then it would seem to not bother me. In the heat of the summer it would "flare up" a bit but then be fine. Then last spring it started to really bother me. It would feel like a hot knife being put to my belly and it would radiate up my side, back and across my abdomen.
According to The Endometriosis Network Canada one in every 10 women have this disease. Now I can only assume some maybe don't feel it as much as others, because by this fall I was in excruciating pain and even the 4 weeks leading up to my surgery I was in pain daily. I believe of course a lot of my pain was exasperated by stress (this is a while other blog post coming for you). But also of course, as the cells grow more through the abdomen, more pain comes.
This lead to just two days ago me being in a hospital. They removed the lump like scar tissue at the end of my c section scar, Endo growth and my Fallopian tubes. Removal of the tubes reduced chances of cancer later in life. Since I was done having babies, this was of course a no brainer for me. Sad still? Yes of course, but my heart bleeds for those that struggle with the inexplicable infertility that goes hand and hand with Endometriosis.
Again there is no cure. The cells removed have been removed, but they will grow back. Potentially leading to further surgeries. But for me, I am in the process of discovering proper diet to help control what I can in the meantime. Prolong any future surgeries as much as I can.
I can only tell me story of Endometriosis, and it's different for every woman. I encourage you to research and ask friends whom may be suffering to gain a better understanding. It's far more then just "painful periods". I have a friend who tells me the first day of her period she throws up. Every single time.
I'm sure you've seen or heard about Orange Theory Fitness. They seem to be popping up everywhere lately. But just what is it all about? I went on Tuesday to the Jasper Gates location off Stony Plain road and 149 street and checked out a class.
I went in the week before to check their schedule and sign up for a class and she told me I had to be there 30 minutes before class for orientation. Since I was in a time crunch she let me fill out the form ahead of time and only come 15 minutes earlier then class.
I got a walk through of the space and quick meet up with the trainer before class. They went over everything I would need to know in order to be effective without stopping the workout to much, which is great to be able to just do my thing!
The workout room is kind of cool with the orange lights. Definetly a different experience from a traditional gym light. The music was upbeat and fun and the trainer was that hard to find balance of perky, motivating and not irritating. (As someone who instructs fitness it's really a hard balance to find!)
It was a great workout for sure. I enjoyed that it was a group thing but you were able to really individually push yourself, especially since you wear a heart rate monitor. The monitor is then put on the screen and you can see what zone you are at any given time. The idea being you spend most of your time in the hard work but not dying "orange zone" or recovery "green zone. That's the THEORY anyways..... see what I did there?
K kidding aside though. We did some strength training and rowing and then switched and did cardio on the treadmills half way through. The strength training was a tad easy for me, but you can add more weights to moves making them harder for sure. I suppose you want to reserve some energy for the rest of class too!
The cardio was good. I like they give variations for those who wish to be more power walkers and those more into running. I noticed they even had a few bikes and an eliptical for those who have knee/ankles issues or whatever.
The workout was great. Since you wear a monitor it racks your calories burned which I love. I use my MyZone Heart rate monitor all the time, so knowing my caloric range I was in to compare to a normal workout of mine was great. The workout gets emailed to you after so you can keep track as well. Only thing I wish they did in the email was tell you who was the teacher. I wish I remembered her name for in case I wanted to go again. She was pretty awesome.
They certainly have got their sales plan down on working with you after the workout. Not to much pressure, but they get to the point. I've heard people say it's expensive and some say it's not bad. The pricing seemed a bit awkward to me with basing it off working out twice a week for the month. My three thoughts on this:
- Interval training (which this is) should really only be done every second or third day, so makes sense to sell it that way.
- It misses the fact that maybe you need to run or have weight in between and you either still need a membership or something else to supplement. For people new to fitness, likely not so much, but since I like to workout 6 days a week I would.
- Considering the fact there are only so many people allowed per class and you don't have to think about making your own workout AT ALL, paying the price is similar to as if working with a trainer at a gym anyways.
So with that info you can decide if it's pricey for you and your lifestyle.
- GREAT workout
- I love the heart rate tracking and caloric tracking
- The place has certainly got a fun vibe.
- You don't have to plan your workouts. You just go and do it! Great for beginners.
The not so good:
- It may seem pricey
- You might have to supplement workouts still
- No childcare
Have you tried out a class yet?
Jen The Bitchin' Housewife
Wondering what happens to you when you quit coffee?
I've been off coffee for two weeks. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE coffee, but docs orders since my body has been run down and needing a break. The caffeination to keep me going isn't good for my body right now, so off I go.
The first few days is sheer EXHAUSTION. I survived on giving my kids snacks and ipads and perfectly timing that with closing my eyes on the couch for a few minutes.
The withdraw headaches happen for a day or two. They suck. Luckily there is this awesome invention called Advil. Find it, have it on hand.
The fog lifts and you feel a lot better. Your energy comes back and I found that I actually had more energy then when I drank coffee. Seriously. The afternoon lul doesn't happen as bad (read as when you morning coffee has been worked through your system likely) and when I do a 15 minute cat nap perks right up.
Also, most people report getting a better sleep. Especially if you consume that afternoon cup!
My skin is glorious. Acne subsides, the glow comes back and I don't even need that much make up. Again, seriously! Maybe it's part lack of the caffeine and part since I replace coffee with herbal tea, I'm getting more water? Either way it works!
You poop better. Sorry, maybe you weren't expecting that response. I know so many people who joke about having to have their morning coffee in order to go to the bathroom. Dependency on caffeine for that my friends is probably not good. After the week+ mark the bowels start working the way they are suppose to with your body being the regulator. Good bowels and good digestion are the key to a healthy body!
There are many reasons for people to ditch the stuff. couple of suggestions if you plan to:
- Wean yourself. If you drink two cups a day or more, slowly get down to a cup a day and then from there either quit or half a cup and then quit. This will help the withdrawl syptoms from being so severe.
- I've heard a few people switching to Matcha which has caffeine but its a slower release in the body and lasts longer.
- I've also heard of people switching to Dandelion tea and it tasting just like it. Naybe I bought the wrong type but the Dandelion tea I have in my cupboard DOES NOT taste like coffee! It IS however super good for your liver.
Have you ever thought about ditching the coffee?
Jen The Bitchin' Housewife.
New year, new leaf to turn over. I don't care what anyone says about resolutions and "New Year, New Me". I love a fresh year, fresh start with the intention of changing something for the better.
January 1st The Chopped Leaf, launched their Turn Over a New Leaf program. For the month of January, offering healthy tips on their Facebook Twitter and Instagram pages with a chance to enter daily to win $15 gift certificates as well as be entered to win the grand prize worth $2500 including $1000 Chopped Leaf gift card and a year membership to Goodlife and a spa and wellness package!
So head on over to follow them and get in on the daily draws and enter to win for the grand prize HERE.
A simple and delicious smoothie. I usually like the banana frozen and it gives it a thicker texture but today I used a fresh banana so I added ice to liquify it more.
- 1 banana
- 1 scoop chocolate protein powder
- 1 cup coconut milk
- ice if not using frozen banana
Mix all together in a blender and enjoy right away. Sop yummy.!
Ooooo I love roasted chickpeas. I make them in a few flavors, but the honey and cinnamon are hitting the spot today for a bit of sweetness! These are fairly simple to make, high in fiber and easy to put in containers for on the go snacks.
- 1 can of chickpeas
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
- optional 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Rinse chickpeas under water in a strainer.
- Place chickpeas on a cookie sheet or pan and cook for 30 minutes.
- Remove from oven and set temperature at 350 degrees.
- Mix cinnamon, honey and optional salt in a bowl.
- Stir in the chickpeas and coat evenly.
- Spread chickpeas back out onto the sheet and in the oven for an additional 10 minutes.
As my daughter says "they start sweet and then nice and crunchy!" A nice healthy snack and they make the house smell soooooo good while cooking.
Welcome back to Self Care Sunday. Last week we talked about A Simple Bath. Did you make time to care for yourself this week? It's okay if you didn't. Guess what? You get another shot this week!
This week I want to chat about walking. Again a simple self care most of us can do. Almost every day I wake before my family. I'm an early riser. A few days a week I meet my friends and we do workouts at 6am, but one day this week I woke up and went for a walk in my neighborhood. I felt the rising sunshine on my face, the still crisp cool morning air on my skin and since I was walking without a "purpose" or "place to go", I was able to slow down and take in the smell of the trees, lawns being watered and notice details of my neighbors houses I've never noticed before.
I finally walked far enough to this space that open up and overlooks the river valley. I've been here before, but never really paid attention to the view or noticed the trail that leads down the side! I've always been so busy as I pass by. I took a moment to sit on the ground and have a few big beautiful breaths and stretches. I got home feeling refreshed and rejuvenated as much as a sweat dripping, muscle burning workout.
Walking is a simple task, it feels good and gives you the time to reflect. Daydream a little, sort out problems in your head, listen to your favorite music, plan your week ahead, reconfirm mantras and positive affirmations. You can also check out this wonderful post 17 Health Benefits of Walking.
A few tips for getting in your walk:
- Schedule a day (or more) and the time that you will take this walk. Put it in your calendar and note it's as important and someone asking you to do something else. Note if you are a morning or evening person and possible go with the sunrise or sunset.
- Wear comfortable clothes and shoes. This isn't a fashion show.
- Download some calming music or an inspiring podcast if your neighborhood or time of day is a noisy one.
- Talk a water if you will be gone a while or it's hot out.
- Get help with children. Ask your partner for this time alone, ask another friend to watch your kids and then when you are done you watch hers and she can go for a walk. If you have to bring the kids, there is no shame in giving them toys or distractions in the stroller to occupy them a little. Remember this is about you, not them.
- Put your phone on airplane or don't bring it. No Facebook or tweets or emails or phone calls. This is your time to be with yourself.
Share with me where your walking journey takes you.
Quinoa Kale Cakes, say that three times fast! Growing up my best friend was Polish. Her mom was thick accent, moved from the motherland only a few yeas ago Polish. She was a stern but wonderful woman that was always trying to feed me. Always. She made these delicious morsels called potato pancakes I adore. She made them for me sometimes when I wasn't getting her daughter into trouble. Hehe. I have never been able to perfect the potato pancake quite like her, but I like to think these quinoa cakes are a healthier version that do hers a tiny bit of justice.
These cakes are not very stable or hold together until they are cooking ( a lot like potato pancakes), but once the cheese crisps up and the eggs cook they firm up a bit. So do not fret!
- 2 cups of cooked quinoa (I like to precook more then this and additional quinoa can be used in salads for lunch throughout the week.)
- 1 cup egg whites OR 3 large eggs.
- 1 cup fine chopped kale. Removing the hard stem first.
- 1.5 cups cheese. I used Mozzarella, but I've also used Parmesan or Cheddar.
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat eh pan to a medium high heat.
- Mix all the ingredients in a bowl really well.
- Scoop up about 2 tbsp of mixture and place in the pan, spreading it out a bit.
- Flip when the edges start to brown a bit.
- Press down to cook the other side flattening and remove from heat when done.
- Enjoy alone or I like Thai chili sauce or any condiment to you hearts desire!
It's been unusually hot here in Alberta for this time of year. So much so we've had raging forest fires, even enough to evacuate a city of 90,000 people. Today is the first time the temperatures are a little cooler and it looks like the possibility of rain.
Yesterday it was hot and sunny and we were doing a potluck at my sisters house for Mother's Day dinner. Since her and I are both vegetarians, it's always the joke about which one of us is bringing the salad. And since it was Mother's Day (read as my day off of cooking) I was putting the least amount of effort in for this one.
So here is my super easy and health summer spinach salad. I pair this salad with catalina or balsamic dressing. I wrote the balsamic dressing below!
What you need:
- Bag of spinach
- 2 cups strawberries, sliced and cut in half
- 1/4 cup sliced almonds
- 1/4 cup red onion
- salad dressing of choice. (See below for recipe)
- Mix spinach, strawberries, almonds and onions in a bowl. Set aside until it is being served.
- Before serving pour dressing, toss and enjoy!
- Say "Wow that was easy and it taste delicious!"
Okay step 3 is optional, but its really that easy! I really like simplicity, especially when it comes to summer food. Nobody likes standing in the kitchen forever when its sunny and hot out!
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 clove of garlic
- 2 tbsp red onion
- 1 tsp honey
- salt and pepper to taste
Mix together in a container with a lid and pour on the salad as much as you'd like.
What's your go to salad?
Happy Earth Day! Here is a guide on a few ways to celebrate Earth Day with a little impact for either the environment or your connection to the Earth :
- Get outside and feel the earth underneath you. Walk to the store rather then driving.
- Bring a reusable bag with you for shopping, even at a clothing or other non grocery stores.
- Take a reusable cup to get your coffee from your favourite coffee shop.
- Grab your water bottle and fill it up instead of buying a bottled water.
- Try for one day to not use paper towel. Use a rag to clean up.
- Open a window for fresh air in your home.
- Turn off some lights. Have dinner by candlelight maybe?
- Pick up garbage in your neighbourhood.
- Thrift store shop, before making your way to a box store. Not just clothes but even appliances, sporting goods and furniture can be found!
- Find a new purpose for one thing in your home. Thinking about putting that glass pasta sauce jar in the recycle bin? Turn it into a pen holder, change collector or make your own batch of Kvass with it!
This is a super simple recipe meant to give a little extra something to boring old every day rice. My family gobbles it up without hesitation, even the kids! I like to make it along side chicken I've put some curry or spices on and voila a jazzed up regular old family dinner meal.
What you need:
- 1 cup of uncooked white rice.
- 1 can of coconut milk (equal to 2 cups), additional liquid will need to be added if using brown rice
- Optional: 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut, teaspoon of lime juice.
- Salt to taste
Directions (you know in case you're new to rice cooking):
- Put rice, coconut milk and optional coconut into a pot.
- Bring to a simmer. Cover and cook until liquid is all absorbed. (10-15 minutes)
- Don't stir it, seriously just leave it until the liquid is gone.
- Add salt and/or lime.
- Serve and enjoy!
It's that simple! Do you have a special way of spicing up otherwise boring foods?