August 29, 2011

Summer Fresh Smoothie

Woo Hoo, it has been warm here! We have had several days here that have been well over 90F and peaking to about 100F (that's about 38C for my international lovelies). I am LOVING the heat.... it makes it so I can almost ignore the orange tint that is affecting the leaves of all the trees around here...

My basil is doing fairly well in the heat although I think it almost drinks more water than I do!! I almost feel like I have a pet because I literally race home after work just to quench the thirst of my basil plant.

The heat and fresh basil combined on me last week into this A-M-A-Z-I-N-G smoothie.

Summer Fresh Smoothie

3/4 cup frozen pitted cherries
3/4 cup frozen hulled strawberries
1/4 cup fresh basil
Coconut milk to blend

Do I really need to write directions?!?

1. Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth....
2. Garnish with basil leaf

** I know that you are doubting the basil in this smoothie... but give it a chance!**

Understanding my recent obsession for basil a client brought be in some of this small leaf variety... How cool is that?!

And for the social section...
The gals and I finally got out for a night on the town together. We were a little warm, so B&W was the best option for our flushed faces! :)

August 26, 2011

Guess who is going to be a Zumba instructor....

Wow! It has been so long that I almost feel at a loss on how to start this post. I feel like there is so much I could catch you all up on.... my latest knitting project, my new favourite smoothie (will get a whole post of its own), my crazy salad cravings (I am eating like 2-3 BIG salads every day lately!!).

For today I think I will focus on the news that I have officially registered for Zumba Instructor Training! For those who don't know what Zumba is (really?), it is a Latin based dance work out. Think loud salsa music, easy to follow dance steps and a bubbly instructor leading you through it -that will be me!

I am a little obsessed with that song!

The Zumba training is in October so I will be sure to keep you posted on how it goes! Oh and you are all invited to attend when I teach my first class. :)

And a couple of pictures from the last little while...

Food + wine + friends = BLISS!

Thor's annual baseball work event.... Ill let it be like a game of Where's Wally to find us.

Well the last weekend of August has snuck up on us, I am going to be teaching some classes and having a long awaited for girls night.... What are you doing???

August 16, 2011

Missing Person

I know you think this blog is going to be about the fact that I have been seriously slacking in the blogging world- and while that's true, it is actually about a funny little story that happened this last weekend...

Thor was out of town this past weekend, hanging out in Lynden, WA and attending golf tournaments, so I was left to spend my weekend solo. Thor and I spoke on Friday night and he was having a great time visiting home and his friends.

On Saturday morning I woke up and taught a 10 am yoga class.

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After yoga I ran some errands, visiting the library and yarn shop (I know I know I am too cool for school). When I got home I lost track of time reviewing how to crochet flowers on YouTube. The talented Kate over at akateday tried to teach me a year or two ago....its a work in progress......


Before I knew it, I was running late to meet a friend to go to a matinee show of The Help. I knew that I needed to give Thor a call but I figured I would call him on my way to the movies.....

After I left my house right on time I realized I had forgotten my phone.. OOPS! Well I wasn't turning back and risking being late so I just figured that Thor was having fun with his friends and I would call him as soon as I was done with the movie.

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AMAZING movie - actually worth the $8-10 bucks!!!

After the movie, my friend asked if we could go to dinner.....well of course! Now I know at this point I should have asked to borrow her phone and give my beau a quick call, but there really wasn't a good chance to do it and it just didn't feel smooth so I didn't.

After dinner I headed home and was just getting ready to head out on a quick run before the sunset when my doorbell rang... It was my friend Jeannette (along with her fiance, sister and her beau) who exclaimed "YOU"RE HERE!"

Me: "Well yea I'm here, but I'm about to head out for a run...whats up??"

J: "Ummm haven't you checked your phone?"

Me: "Oh crud, no...."

J: "Thor is really worried. He said you hadn't called all day and wanted me to come and check the house. He is about ready to drive back to Spokane..."

I quickly checked my phone to call Thor and assure him I was just fine. The story continues though as Thor had told his dad that he hadn't heard from me. His dad (being a retired police officer) looks up news stories in Spokane, only to discover that they ran a story about an unidentified female victim in Spokane. He was really worried! I THINK that Thor's dad then called Thor's mum (in Florida!!) because she just happened to give my mum a call (in Kent, WA) around 7:30 that Saturday night. Thor's mum did not mention missing Samantha, but did ask my mum when she had last heard from me..... again not confirmed but very coincidental....

At the end of the day I feel VERY loved! Thank you to all the people who were so concerned when I discontinued my normal communication for several hours. Its nice to know that if you do fall off the grid, you would be missed!!

If I ever want to be off the grid, I will just have to remember to let all my loving friends and family know so that there isn't a national search party sent out!!!

Go watch The Help, just tell your loved ones first so they don't send out for help.

August 10, 2011

Perfect Summer Pasta Salad

This one is a great clean the fridge/pantry, spend 15 minutes making and they will think you spent 30, pasta salad. You really can not mess it up so feel free to throw in whatever vegetables/legumes that you need to use up and flavour the dressing with any herb that tickles your fancy. You could saute or stem the veggies if you prefer but I left mine raw.

Ill share what I did but remember... let your crisper drawer be your guide. :)

1-2 cups whole wheat penne pasta
Carrots- cut into little chopsticks
Green Peppers, sliced
1 can red kidney beans
4-5 Sun Dried Tomatoes, diced
1/4 onion, sliced
1 tomato, diced*
1 avocado, diced*

*I actually didn't add these until the 2nd day after the picture was taken.

1/4 cup veg broth
3 TBS Apple cider vinegar
1 TBSP olive oil
1 clove garlic
1 tsp agave (any sweetener would work)
1/4 cup fresh basil

Combine all ingredients in blender or food processor.

This pasta salad is great to eat as a meal in its own right or taken as a side for a pot luck. For lunches, I served mine over lettuce and spinach with a little extra dressing... YUM!

August 8, 2011

Shining in Seattle!

Better late than never?

I apologize for my not so timely posts lately. BUT it was important that I get out the pictures of my beautiful weekend in Seattle for my youngest brothers birthday.

I can't believe little baby Blayne is now a teenager!

Testing out the new fishing rod!

Jeannette was the only one among us with any serious fishing experience!

Showing us how its done!

And he caught.... seaweed! Yuck!

Is this Seattle?!?

Must be California....

With the Birthday boy!
One of the four people bicycle things!

"Blayne, watch out!"
It IS Seattle!

I so envy Jeannette's long legs!

Photo shoot time...

I think Blayne was getting tired of the pictures..

Bro and sis being goofy!

OK Blayne, we are going to stay here... you peddle!

Day 2


Stopping traffic... not in the good way..

I think these would have been a very practical purchase.

We decided to take a ferry ride!

The cafe we stopped at had the tables you could draw on... lunch + art = fun!

From the ferry
Seattle in the Summer... oh how I love your ways..

It was a beautiful weekend! Blayne I am SO proud of the young man you are growing up to be. I know you don't always have it easy, but you are pulling through and I just know you have a bright future ahead of you. I love you.

August 4, 2011

Wellness Wednesday

Affirm for yourself that you are a success. Affirm that you are successful in getting rid of your clutter. If you are having a hard time getting started, be grateful that you are such a successful clutterer. Who else could have amassed such a collection of stuff?     Source Unknown

Today's Wellness Wednesday is about ridding our lives and minds of clutter. I am sure that you have heard that a cluttered space leads to a cluttered mind. Clutter is also shown to make you feel more stressed and inhibits productivity.
This particular subject is one that I struggle with... I love keeping "stuff" and I am so overly sentimental- "oh I cant get rid of that - what if (insert various doomsday scenario where I may actually need said item)." I have experienced first hand how good it feels to declutter and only have the essentials.... but I do need to make this more of a daily practice - not a once a year mad women raid- bagging things up (and then driving around with bags of things in my jeep forgetting to stop by goodwill).
 I am really hoping that in writing this post some of the declutter tips will really rub off on me..

15 Great Declutter Tips

1.Declutter for 15 minutes every day. It’s amazing how much you can get through if you just do it in small increments like this.

2.Don’t allow things into the house in the first place. Whether you’ve begun decluttering the living space, or you’ve just completed it, stop bringing in new stuff NOW. Even if that’s ALL you do and don’t start decluttering immediately, if you can only establish one habit at a time, establish the no-more-stuff habit first. This way, when you do get to decluttering the existing stuff, you’ve already stopped making it worse. Think of bailing out a boat with a hole in it. You can bail and bail, but it won’t do anything for the leak.

3.Donate stuff you’re decluttering, so you don’t feel bad about wasting it.

4.Create a Joe’s Goals chart with decluttering on it — either daily, or 3 times a week. Check off the days when you declutter, and you’ll feel a great sense of accomplishment.

5.Start at the corner by the door and move your way around the room, doing the superficial stuff first – surfaces, empty the bin etc. Repeat, but do more the 2nd time around – ie. open the cupboards.

6.Whenever you’re boiling the kettle for tea, tidy up the kitchen. If the kitchen is tidy, tidy up the next room – it’s only 3 minutes but it keeps you on top of everything (helps if you have an Englishman’s obsession with Tea as well!)

7.Use the “one in, two out” rule. The rule: whenever you bring in an item, you have to throw away two other items. First you cheat, by throwing out two pieces of paper, but soon you will have to move to big stuff.

8.Make your storage space smaller and more minimal. If you have lots of storage, you’ll fill it with stuff.

9.Clothing rule: If you haven’t worn an item in 6 months, sell or donate it.

10.The One-Year Box. Take all your items that you unsure about getting rid of (e.g. “I might need this someday…”), put them in a box, seal it and date it for 1 year in the future. When the date comes, and you still didn’t need to open it to get anything, donate the box WITHOUT OPENING IT. You probably won’t even remember what there was in the box. I love this one!!

11.Declutter one room (including any closets, desks, cabinets, etc.) before starting on the next one. Spending time in that room will feel *so* good, and it will be so easy to keep clean, that it will motivate you to do more!

12.Keep a list in your planner labeled “Don’t Need It – Don’t Want It.” When you’re out shopping and run across some kind of gadget or other item you crave, note it down on the list. This will slow you down long enough to reconsider. Also, seeing the other things on the list that you nearly bought on impulse really helps.

13.Internalize that your value is not in your “stuff”. It is just “stuff”. And realize that your value grows when you share your “stuff”. Hoarding is a selfish act. How true!!

14.Have someone else (who you trust!) help you go through things. They don’t have the (sometime’s irrational) emotional attachment that you might have, but can still recognize if something should be kept.

15.Gift everything. Books you’ve read immediately get recycled among friends, family or local libraries. If you buy a new gaming system, donate your old one – and all the games
One more for the car that a client of mine shared with me.... 
When stopped for gas- go through your car and empty out all trash and make sure things are clean and neat. If your car is clean go through your bag or purse. (I have actually started doing this one and I LOVE IT!)

Last night I wanted to declutter my food cupboards... I ended up finding supplies to make a delish pasta salad... Ill get the recipe to you soon!

Any more great decluttering tips out there to share??

August 2, 2011

Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies

The other week at the grocery store I found bananas for sale so I grabbed a big bunch. When I got home I saw that Thor had done the same thing when he went to the store the day before.....ooops! :) Although, I must confess that this is one of my favourite grocery shopping mistakes since it means that in just a matter of days we will have some very ripe bananas perfect for smoothies, soft serve and baked goods! As much as I LOVE Banana Bread, I decided to switch it up a little this go round and try some Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies! I found a basic recipe for this on one of my go to recipe sites, and then proceeded to heathify and veganize it!

1 cup WW pastry flour
1 1/2 cups WW flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup cane juice sugar
2/3 cup Earth balance, softened
Egg Replacer for 2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
3 very ripe bananas, mashed
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

1.Preheat oven to 400. Grease cookie sheets. Sift the flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda together, and set aside.

2.Cream the EB with the sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg replacer and vanilla. Mix in the mashed bananas. Add the flour mixture, and stir until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chips. Drop by spoonfuls onto prepared cookie sheets.

3.Bake in preheated oven for 12 to 15 minutes.
Some reviewers of the original recipe noted that the cookies were a little cake like and I definitely experienced the same thing... this batter would actually make great mini muffins! If you have any suggestions on how to make them less cakey I would love to hear them... I can tell you that they were scrumptious and the cakiness did not stop Thor and I from eating them all!!!

This past weekend I got to travel to Seattle to celebrate my youngest brothers 13th birthday! Watch out for a little recap and pics coming soon!