Monday, January 28, 2013

Vegan Apple-Cranberry Cobbler...Yum!!

Although I don't consider myself to actually be a vegan, I have noticed that as I continue on my journey to eat and be healthier, I have started to become much more open to different lifestyles of eating than I ever thought I would. This past weekend I was with one of my girlfriends, and we decided to whip up a yummy dessert for a small get-tother on Saturday night. We got onto her Pinterest page (I don't have my own page) to look up some healthy ideas, and ran across this great recipe for Apple-Cranberry Cobbler! It was amazing. We did add in a little more Cinnamon than the recipe called for because I. love. cinnamon.

And really, nobody AT ALL complained that it was too cinnamon-y. So it was perfect. And vegan! Who would have thought....

Any great recipe ideas out there from any of you for healthy and/or vegan recipes?!?

Oh, and we have started to think about wedding planning, just fyi. Nothing major, just started to think about some ideas. Will post later about them though!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Great website to make your own granola!

So I was reading this article in the NY Times about different breakfasts that include all kinds of rich grains, and they mentioned an awesome website that allows you to create your own granola mix! I thought it was cool because you literally are able to choose your base and then add in any extras that you want with it. After you finished creating your own custom granola, the company ships it to you with your own customized label -- how cool is that?!

pic from
I know I sound a bit dorky at how excited I am with this, but I just think it's such a cool concept. In the grocery store I like to go to the bulk foods section and mix up my own granola/granola bar, but sometimes I feel like they don't have all of the options I am looking for  (and they definitely don't have a cool  customized label!!!). I decided to check out the website, called Element Bars.

How it works:
1. Pick your base: choose from chewy, crispy, oaty, fruit & nut, or datey
2. Choose your fruits: cherries, cranberries, prunes, raisins, blueberries, apricots, or bananas
3. Pick the nuts you want to add: peanuts, almonds, flaxseeds, soynuts, walnuts, cashews, or pumpkin seeds
4. Pick any sweets you want ( I would suggest just skipping this step so you aren't tempted!): brown rice syrup, agave syrup, honey, maple syrup, fiber syrup, chocolate chips, SunDrops, pumpkins spice, or cinnamon
5. Choose any boosts you want: egg white protein, whey protein, soy protein, immunity, Omeha-3, or fiber

What is great is that all along the process, while you choose your different ingredients, there is a Nutritional Facts column that shows you the changes to the nutritional value depending on what I add. At the end, when you are done adding ingredients and are ready to check out, the site has a pop-up menu that displays recommendations from experts on things you might want to add or change depending on the core you had chosen! How cool is that?!

Lastly, you get to name your creation, and if you are having a hard time coming up with your own name, the site gives you assistance if you ask for it. The last step is to checkout and pay for your creation! I'm still trying to decide whether I am actually going to order it, but I thought it was a great site  worth sharing! Have any of you ever used this site before? Or are you planning to?!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Importance of Eating Together as a Family

Although I don't have kids myself, I do spend a lot of time with my family, which has many cousins in it. After seeing this infographic and the information is presents, I don't understand how any parent could overlook the importance of something as simple as eating dinner together as a family! When I was growing up we always had to make sure that we were home for dinner so we could eat as a family. Now, us kids did play sports and were involved with other various activities, but that just meant that dinner time was a little bit different each night -- we still were required to eat together! I remember being annoyed by this at times, particularly when I wanted to go hangout at one of my friend's house but my mom made me come home early for dinner -- but I also learned to appreciate the bonding time we as a family had -- which sadly many of my friends didn't have with their own parents or families. I think this is a major reason why my family is still as close as it is today, because we made spending time together - and taking an interest in each other's lives -- a priority. Take a look at the infographic below (found from to see some eye-opening statistics about what eating dinner as a family can do as opposed to not eating dinner together... Family Dinners Infographic

Monday, January 14, 2013

Guest Post: Yoga for Today's Kids

Hey everyone! So I don't usually have many guest posts on this blog, but I wrote a piece for Janet over at her blog, and she in return, gave me a great post she wrote about today's kids and how they can all benefit from yoga. As you all know, I am very passionate about being active and healthy -- and yoga! -- and I thought this was a great post that you would all find insightful. So please take a moment to read and feel free to share with everyone you know!

Children's Yoga Can Help Families Focus on Fitness and Fun

How Things Used to Be – Only a Few Short Decades Ago (Only 4 Short Decades Ago!)
When I was young, my father used to joke around with us children and say “When your mother was pregnant, she must have been startled by a kangaroo because you children never stop bouncing around!”

All the children in my neighbourhood were active.  We ran endlessly around the neighbourhood playing Hide & Seek, the older boys played Football on the street in the summer and Hockey in the winter.  The girls did Gymnastics, swinging like monkeys on the Monkey Bars and Swing Sets and doing cartwheels and handstands on the grass.  What we all had in common was that we never stopped moving and we could all see our ribs.  We would rather run than walk and were constantly being told to “slow down”.  There was only 1 chubby child in my entire school - although ironically by today’s standards, he would be considered a “standard size” child.  There were only a few kids’ movies that you could watch at the cinema and there wasn’t too much to watch on TV - not that it mattered because we were only allowed to watch 1 hour of TV a week, and we exercised that right by watching Saturday morning cartoons.    

During university I knew I wanted to be a teacher and I worked and volunteered in different children’s programs.  The children were as active as I had been as a child – nonstop running around and having fun.  There were 1 or 2 children whose parents packed their lunches with just a few too many treats and they were a few pounds heavier than the other children but still just as active.  

How Things are Now – The Huge Generation Difference
What I find astonishing about children today, is how inactive and unhealthy they are.  I currently go into daycare centres, schools, youth groups and yoga studios, to teach yoga to children.  I have been working with children my whole life and the trends in this generation of children are disturbing.  These are some of the surprising things I have witnessed, heard and have been asked by children:

  • In a daycare at 9:30 in the morning, children ages 2-4 telling me they are tired after doing 3 yoga poses – less than 5 minutes of activity.
  • Children ages 2-4, who I have been seeing on a weekly basis and who have learned the names of the yoga poses from the "What I Can See, I Can Be"yoga book -  request the “Mouse Pose” (Child’s Pose) before we even begin the yoga class.  When I ask why they want to do that pose, they inform me that they are tired – and I can see that they ARE physically tired.
  • Children ages 4-5, after a few minutes of moderately active yoga, asking to stop because they are starting to sweat!  This is something that they haven’t experienced before and they are not use to sweating and find it uncomfortable.
  • Going into school classrooms and seeing children ages 6-9 with stomachs that look like “Muffin Tops” or “Pot Bellies”, similar in size to men who have well developed “Beer Guts”. 
  • Going into elementary schools and discovering 1/4 to 1/3 of the children are either overweight or obese, have laboured breathing just sitting or standing, and are inflexible. 
How Did this Happen?
 Inactive children eating processed fast food, passively watching TV.
Children today have to deal with a dramatic increase on society’s reliance on technology, TV, the car, and processed and fast food.  Children are given access to and are encouraged to play games on the computer and on hand held electronic gaming devices.  They have a plethora of TV shows and DVD movies to choose from, which can act as a babysitting service for parents needing time to get chores completed or supper made.  Children are driven everywhere, with some parents feeling like they are a limousine service.  The convenience of fast food restaurants and easy-to-pop-in-the-oven prepared foods
from the grocery store are too tempting for tired parents to resist when they are in a hurry and need to feed hungry children.                                                       

How We Can Ensure Our Children Stay Healthy for a Lifetime
Janet Williams doing Yoga with Children in the Park
To turn this trend around, it is first going to take a dawning of awareness and slowly awakening to the fact that there is a current children’s health crisis occurring.  Once we are awake to the fact that “Children being overweight is Not OK”, (just as it is Not OK for children to be underweight and malnourished), we can then start to make some changes.  It is going to take a conscious effort in our homes and in our schools.   It is going to take conscious effort by every mother, father, grandparent, daycare provider, school teacher, and youth leader. 

Children are taught what to value and children learn to value what adults’ value.  To save this upcoming generation from a life impaired and impacted by obesity, Type II Diabetes and Heart Disease, it means that adults are going to have to get active with their children!                                                                                                                      

How Adults Can Lead By Example
Yoga is an excellent activity to do as a family because it can be a “Whole Family Affair” done by all generations – children, parents, and grandparents.  Children as young as 2 and Grandparents as old as 102 can all participate.  This intergenerational activity doesn’t require any special equipment, can be easily done in the living room, and can be easily incorporated into the daily routine.  

Just like brushing teeth is taught to children as a daily activity, starting or ending the day with “Family Yoga Time” can be made to be part of the daily routine.   Yoga is the perfect activity, compared to what faces most Hockey Moms and Dads -  getting up to drive their children to a 6:00am hockey practice, standing in the cold arena holding onto a cup of hot coffee trying to stay warm, and watching their child get pushed around the rink.

Leading children by example and doing yoga with them every day can help ensure your children stay active and healthy for a lifetime.

Bio:  Janet Williams is a Certified Primary/Junior Teacher, Yoga Instructor and the author of the book “What I See, I Can Be:  A Guided Yoga Flow for Children”.  She has created easy to use kids yoga resources and training courses for teachers and parents so that they can do yoga with their children in schools and homes. 

Helpful Tips & Ideas at:

Friday, January 4, 2013


Hey everybody... guess what?!?! My New Years was FANTASTIC!!! Want to know why??? Because... 
Yup, it's true!! I know I was kind of (okay, not kind of, I just plain 'ol was...) whining about New Years Eve and how every year it seems like we make these grand plans, and every year I always feel let down because it was never as fun as I had conjured up in my head it would be. But this year was better than I could have even dreamed about!! 

The Fiance (ah! I am still getting used to using that word!!) knows me so well -- he knows how much I love having my friends and family around me, but also knows that I woud have wanted this special moment to be a little more intimate, with just the 2 of us there. 

Like I had said earlier, The Fiance had told me he was going to make the plans for NYE this year (which was pretty nice for me because I wasn't getting all stressed out about making grand plans that were supposed to be "the best ever"). He said it was going to be a little more casual, so I wouldn't have to worry about getting all done up for some elegant soiree. During the day we slept in a little, and then we got up together and went for a run together (he doesn't always run with me, but it's a nice surprise when he does!), and then came home to shower, and while I was showering, he made me a delicious omelet for breakfast. After that we lounged around for most of the day, but also spent some time de-Christmasing (I hate this part after the holidays!) the house so we wouldn't have to do it going into the new year. 

Later in the afternoon he suggested that we could go on a walk in one of the parks we like to go to. It's not something that we normally do in the winter (unless I decide to go there to run), but there was fresh snow and we thought it would look really nice, so we went. 

 I had no idea he was taking this picture of me! 

We stopped on one of the bridges that goes over one of the streams because it was just so calm and peaceful. The picture above was taken without me knowing, and when I turend around to look at him he had gotten down on one knee! I was completely surprised, and a little shocked at first, when I realized that he was proposing! He told me the sweetest message (I promised I wouldn't write it down for all the world to see - but it was amazing), and yes, I did cry a bit. 

 my beautiful ring!!! 

After I said "Yes" we were both excited and couldn't wait to call our families to tell them the news! I wanted to call them right away, but he suggested we wait until we got home and out of the cold because it would probably be a lengthy conversation...I agreed. Little did I know that he had already informed both our families of what he was planning on doing, along with a bunch of our friends, and there was a surprise party of them all gathered back at our house when we got home! It was such an amazing surprise, and I had absolutely no idea that he was planning this! The night is kind of a blur now that I look back it -- there were so many people who wanted to see my ring and hear the story of how it happened that I can't even remember everyone I ended up talking to. 

We haven't set a date quite yet -- I am enjoying this engagement period and I think I want to relish it for a bit before I put a deadline on it! Thank you so much for letting me share my story with you! I couldn't wait to spread the news! I hope all of your New Years were amazing as well! I guess I won't be complaining about all of my past New Years' anymore!! :)