Let's talk fitness routines! I've always had a love for fitness, and I can go pretty hard core when I want to. As much as I've also worked hard to build a steady routine of working out before leaving for work, which also gets the endorphins into full swing, I can also lose steam when life gets busy and the days gets shorter.
I find the months of December and January particularly hard, as do also feel the effects of Seasonal Defectiveness Disorder, or SAD. Those are the days and weeks I really should be hunkering down and sticking to my routines, but alas, I too am human. I've been back into a fairly steady 5 day a week fitness routine for the past month, and feeling great! So why don't you join me?
Tips for getting into a fitness routine
So how does one get back into a routine, or start a routine from scratch? Then again, how does one go from not being active to wanting to start moving?
I hope that these tips help motivate you to start or continue being active. Just like anything, it takes time to build a habit and routine, but with a little bit of grit and determination, it is possible!
There's something so refreshing about spending time outside. It's also the cheapest form of therapy you'll ever find, also known as "ecotherapy". Studies have also shown that spending time in nature has all sorts of benefits linked to improved mental health, such as less anxiety, fewer depression symptoms, lowering stress levels, and improved focus.
I once came across this quote from an unknown author: "Whatever your mood, you always feel calm and nice near nature." Honestly, it has always resonated with me, and it's what I try to keep in the back of my mind when life gets busy and stressful.
My two dogs definitely help me get outside more often. They need their daily walks and I use that time as a way to decompress from a long day at work. I'd be lying if I said I enjoy getting out in the pouring rain and cold days, but the four-leggeds don't give me much of a choice. Thankfully there's a forest next door to my place that provides us with a little bit of shelter on those dreary days. Weekends certainly give me more time to play in the outdoors, but even those two days get busy and are over in the blink of an eye.
Now that winter solstice has come and gone, I'm looking forward to the days getting longer and Spring is not that far down the road. Until then, I will continue to be the Happy Warrior I am and make the most of what Mother Nature has blessed us with. Hey, at least we don't have hurricanes or alligators!
Tips for getting outside
Most importantly, make it fun and don't complicate things. Start small and work your way up to longer adventures outside. Nature is your playground!
Saturdays have long become a favourite of mine, and not just because it's the weekend. I'd say that part is obvious.
So why Saturdays? It's the day my team and I get to cook and share our passion for Thermomix with others, hoping to inspire more people to create delicious, healthy, sometime indulgent, foods from the comforts of home. Our menus vary from week-to-week. Sometimes we travel around the world virtually to share International cuisines, other times we show off our favourite dishes, and sometimes we even make our menus thematic. The best part about Thermomix and Cookidoo (our digital recipe platform) is that the possibilities and recipes really seem to be endless - they never get boring, repetitive, or tasteless. Did you know we have access to over 75,000 recipes from around the globe? Mind-boggling, isn't' it!
This weekend we featured one of my favourite Pork recipes, using both my Thermomix and Joule Sousvide circulator. The results are out of this universe, seriously!
I fired up the grill to sear the outside of my pork tenderloins, before putting both into a BPA-free Vacuum sealing bag. My Thermomix then chopped up the garlic, shallot, parsley, and cilantro in 2 seconds, before adding some oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, and chilli flakes. One half of this mixture would make up the marinade for the pork (I added this into the bag, then vacuum sealed it), and the other half went into a bowl as the salad dressing for the warm rice salad.
I like my tenderloin to be pink and juicy, so I set my circulator to heat up to 58 ℃ (137℉). Once it reaches optimal temperature, the pork takes 1 ½ hours to cook. Alternatively, this can also be done in the Thermomix TM6, which has the capabilities of cooking sousvide as well. All you need is the blade cover!
About 30 minutes before the pork would come out of its lovely bath, I started making the rice salad. The display and integrated recipe guided me every step of the way. It prompted me to cut up my zucchini, carrots, and red pepper, all of which would be placed into the Varoma dish and tray. I also weighed out my rice into the simmering basket, which I was also able to use as a strainer to rinse the rice. The integrated scale in the TM6 let me know exactly how much of which ingredient I was adding to the dish/tray/basket and bowl. All that was left to do was add 1000g of water to the mixing bowl, add my simmering basket with the rice, place the lid onto of the bowl, and stack the Varoma dish and tray on top of the lid. Again, the display prompted me every step of the way and even let me know that the rice and veggies would now steam for 25 minutes.
The timing was perfect! As the rice and veggies finished, so did my pork tenderloins. The beauty of sousvide is that the food will never overcook, so I was safe to leave it immersed in the hot circulating water a little longer while I plated my meal. I put the rice and veggies into the bowl with the dressing and tossed to mix. I removed the pork from the bag and sliced it up. All that was left to do was plate my food.
Well, check this out! I plated some of the salad and a few slices of the pork, and drizzled it with some extra chimichurri sauce. All that was left was to dive into my food. It was pretty spectacular, to say the least.
** Want the recipe? Click on the recipe title to be taken to the recipe on Cookidoo. **
What is up, everyone! First and foremost, I want to wish you all a very Happy New Year. I'm still trying to wrap my head around the idea that we are in the year 2022. So much happens in a calendar year, but I hope that this new year brings everyone much health, happiness, adventures, and more.
I know it's been a long while since you've seen any new content on my blog, which was never my intention when I restarted my blogging journey. To be frank, I have no real excuse other than life got busy and the pandemic has thrown me and everyone I know off their game.
2021 definitely brought a lot of positivity to my neck of the woods:
I guess life wouldn't be complete with a few downs as well:
Now that 2022 is officially here, I am excited for what's to come! Yes, we are still in a global pandemic and that we cannot control. However, we can continue to control how we deal with adversity, overcome challenges, and approach life with a positive attitude.
Stay safe and stay tuned, because I intent to provide you with more content as the year progresses. Looking forward to sharing more in the world of Thermomix, puppy dogs, fitness, and life!
It seems like just yesterday we started the 2020/2021 school year under some very different and difficult circumstances than ever before. To say that the current school year has been a challenge is an understatement. I've been teaching for 17 years, yet this year it feels like it did when I was just starting off.
I took on the role of teaching one of the blended/hybrid cohorts for my district this year. I'm spending ½ the day teaching Grade 6/7 online and students attend school for in person instruction 3 afternoons each week. The Grade 6/7 curriculum is not new to me; having to redesign it for an online version is. I was also under the impression that the blended program would expire in December and all students would return back to the classroom full-time after our winter break. It turns out this current system will now continue until June.
I'm having to maneuver so many obstacles, whether it be technology issues, recreating new ways to teach in order to meet the various needs of my learners, or keeping the students engaged and on task, especially in the virtual world. The days feel long and exhausting, yet I choose to find the positive in everything I do. No day is perfect, but the positives definitely outweigh the negatives.
I feel blessed to be able to teach a wonderful community of learners, which has been validated by their touching comments and gestures this week alone. Teaching during a pandemic is not easy, but it makes everything worth it when I think of how far my students have come this year. From my autistic student who has been come so far as to ask for help on her own, to the girl who left in tears because she was moving schools, to the young boy who's parent told me he excitedly talks about his various projects when they had to pry it out of him in the past, my heart is overcome with joy and pride. It's moments like these that I am reminded that I love what I do!
As we begin the winter break, I will definitely take the time to enjoy some much needed rest and relaxation. I'll be spending time cooking delicious treats, sharing my passion for cooking with the world, getting back into my workout routine and of course spending time with the four legged members of my family. Christmas will look much different this year, as I will be joining my family virtually, but I am at peace as I know this is not a permanent change. It's what must happen to keep the people I love safe and healthy for many years to come.
When all is said and done, we will emerge from this pandemic stronger than ever! I encourage you to embrace this challenging time and try to find the positive each and every day.
From my family to yours, we wish you a very merry Holiday season.
About a month ago, I was approached by my branch manager and was asked to answer a few questions about Thermomix and my role as an independent consultant. I was told I may be given the opportunity to be featured in an online lifestyle magazine. The more exposure I can get, the better, so I jumped on the opportunity to do so. Plus, more people need to learn about this amazing kitchen appliance that is changing lives!
Well, weeks went by and I still hadn't heard who was selected to be featured. When I inquired with my branch manager, I was informed that another consultant was selected to work with the magazine. No big deal! It's just one opportunity that didn't pan out, but that doesn't mean there won't be many more.
I'm not entirely sure what happened, but to my utter amazement and total shock, I was forwarded a link to an online article - I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw that it was my interview that they had published - WHAT???????
"VITA is Canada’s premiere online lifestyle magazine, with a group of seven free, savvy, online e-newsletters in major Canadian cities that target educated, affluent women who are starved for time and hungry for information."
I still cannot believe that I was chosen as THE consultant to represent our entire company on a national level. I am proud to represent this amazing company - not only because I believe strongly in the quality and versatility that our appliance offers, but I get to share my passion for cooking with all of Canada! The TM6 really has changed my life.
As I say in the article, "In today’s ever changing world, more and more people are working from home, eating in and cooking meals with families, and looking for ways to save money and time. ...The TM6 is bringing families together once again—kids will enjoy helping in the kitchen and can even take pride in the meals they make themselves with the help of guided cooking. This amazing kitchen appliance will turn any amateur and home cook into a professional chef!"
You can check out my interview by clicking here.
So where do I go from here? My wish is for more people to discover the amazing features of the TM6! And of course, I will continue to cook delicious mouthwatering meals and share my passion with my free weekly virtual cooking classes* and cooking experiences. I'm confident that we will start to see more TM6's in kitchens across North America - it's just a matter of time!
So with that said, email me for your very own virtual cooking experience. Let's enjoy some laughter, smiles and a fun night in, and let my sous-chef Rémy do most of the work!
*Free virtual cooking classes can be found on Eventbrite. (Search for "The Magic of Thermomix").
Sunny-side up... poached... hard boiled... soft boiled...easy over... scrambled... steamed... baked.... How do you like your eggs?
Did you know that eggs are often referred to as "nature's multivitamin"? I absolutely love eggs, especially when they are sourced from farm-fresh and free-range chickens. I used to worry about consuming too many of these gems and raising my cholesterol levels.
Little did I know that one egg contains an amazing range of nutrients. We're talking vitamins, minerals, high quality protein, good fats, nutrients essential for the brain and eyes, and the list goes on.
So what about the dreaded cholesterol? Just because food contains this important component doesn't mean that your bad cholesterol will increase. Cholesterol is actually created by our own liver and when you eat cholesterol, your liver produces less of it; and when you don't eat it, your liver produces more. Crazy, hey? There have been a ton of studies that show eggs to improve your cholesterol profile - raising the so-called good "HDL" levels and lowering the supposed bad "LDL" levels. ** Who would have thunk?
And don't dismiss the importance of the yolk either, since the majority of these nutrients are found in the golden middle - the white only contains protein.
But are all eggs created equal? Just line in the picture above, not at all! If you're buying eggs sourced from hens that are raised in factories, caged and fed grain-based feed, this affects the nutrient composition your eggs. It's best to buy free-range or free-run, pasture raised, farm fresh eggs whenever possible. You can even look for eggs that are Omega-3 enriched to get your best value.
I tried a new recipe today and I couldn't be happier! In all my years in the kitchen, never once have I attempted to put together a quiche. I'm not sure why because it really was not that difficult.
It was even easier with Rémy doing all the hard work - he started off by weighing the ingredients needed for my crust, then mixed them up to create the dough. The only job I had was rolling out the dough and putting it into my pan, then into the fridge to rest while Rémy made the filling.
To make the filing, he first chopped the herbs and then combined them with the eggs, cream, salt and pepper. Time for me to take over.
I layered the crust with some wild smoked sockeye salmon and some very ripe and creamy brie cheese. The egg mixture got poured evenly on top and into the hot 400˙F oven for 15 minutes. The temperature was reduced to 350˙F and baked for another 30 minutes.
I definitely enjoyed a slice or two of warm quiche with a bowl of hot creamy tomato soup - a perfect combination for a cold autumn night.
"Chocolate is cheaper than therapy, and you don't need an appointment." ~ author unknown.
How true is that? And it gets even cheaper and better when you get the satisfaction of making the most decadent and delicious chocolate creations yourself! Thankfully, with the magic of my sous chef Rémy, making these amazing show stopper creations is a synch.
This weekend I had the pleasure of hosting a virtual cooking experience and I showed my guests how easy it is to make Chocolate Coconut Caramel Custard and Chocolate Syrup. Would you believe me if I said that both desserts were made in under an hour? That includes the clean up at the end. I particularly enjoy eating both the custard and the syrup on top of goat's milk yogurt. I also shared some tried and true tips for making these dishes low carb and some of my favourite ways to enjoy them as well.
Check out some other mouth watering desserts made using my Thermomix TM6!
I'd love to share the magic that is Thermomix and host a virtual cooking class for as many of you as possible. We can customize the menu to you and your party's needs and desires. With the holidays coming up, we need more reasons for social interactions. So, let's get together virtually and have some fun, laughs and share a glass of wine or two together.
Even if we're not in the same room, we can still make the most of it. You can message me for more info! And feel free to share with all of your friends as well.
You can also click here for more information about Thermomix.
I still remember the day I wrote this:
"Sometimes, things don't go as planned. You may be aiming for two birds in a bush, and end up with not even one in your hand. There will always be times when things don't go your way. You toil hard, give it your best and end up crying. In the end you think maybe it was just because you didn't pray. But after all is said and done, and you grow older, and you find yourself in a place that is happier, you realize the universe never gave you a cold shoulder!" (Despicable Me).
I had just spent 5 weeks suffering through the most excruciating time of my life ~ Kidney Stones! Don't let those itty bitty little stones fool you. Think of them as little pebbles covered in minuscule razor blades, sitting comfortably in your kidney(s) until the day they decide to dislodge and take an unwelcome trip down your ureter and to your bladder, and then out! I have no idea how long my little mining operation of 10 stones had been forming, but the day they dislodged themselves will never be forgotten!
I will spare you the details, but it started with pee the colour of coca cola and lower back pain that was so debilitating, it felt like I tried to lift a 1 ton truck without success.
The next 10 days were spent in and out of the local ER and 2 emergency trips to the OR to blast those suckers out. It turns out I had about 10 stones in my left kidney that were ranging in size from 2 mm to 10 mm. Unfortunately the back pain would continue to linger for several months and my energy was non existant.
The year 2020 was going so well and I had plans to go on several hiking adventures this summer. I guess it's true when they say that you don't realize how much you miss things until they get taken away from you. Not being able to work out let alone being more or less housebound all summer is not what I had in mind. I love being active! Thankfully, by the time school started back in September, I was starting to feel somewhat back to normal in terms of my energy, minus the lingering back pain. Things were starting to look up! I was back to coaching and training Flying Trapeze and I eased back into my workouts.
Then came mid-September and another scare - my back pain was back with a vengeance. After spending another day at the ER and third trip through the CT Scanner, I was happy to hear I was clear of stones. It appears the back pain was more muscular and most likely residual from the stones. Just my luck! And so the next month was spent taking it slow, following up with my massage and physio therapists, and going on gentle walks with the pups.
I also had to revamp my diet and limit foods that I love, which was the hard part. People can form a variety of types of stones, the most common being what I had, calcium oxalate stones. I have since learned that oxalate is made daily by your liver or can also be absorbed from the foods you eat; foods such as spinach, nuts, rhubarb, sweet potatoes and even chocolate (not happening). My urologist also told me I need to drink at least 3 L of water a day, which has not been an easy feat for me and took some bladder training. Not only that, I am at a very high risk of developing more stones in my future, so I really do need to make sure to follow doctor's orders. We will find out in March sometime if my kidneys have decided to cooperate (fingers crossed).
Happy to report that I am finally feeling back to my old self. My next challenge is to get back into my old routines of working out almost daily so that I can get back to working on my strength and fitness goals. Through all of this, I do feel like I've done a pretty good job at sticking to my nutrition goals - sticking to a LCHF and moderate protein lifestyle has been great for my gut health. In addition, the scale hasn't budged and my clothes are still fitting great. Sure, my abs are not where they were at the beginning of summer, but I know they will come back.
For me, the most important aspect is getting my health back to normal levels so that I can come back stronger and better than ever!
It's a good thing that I'm such an optimistic person because when life throws me curveballs, I'm definitely one to throw them back and prevail!
With crisper days, stormier nights and the colours of leaves changing all around us, you definitely know that summer is behind us and winter is not far off. In my heart I am a summer girl, but there is something comforting about the sighs and smells of autumn days.
As much as I love my warm summer days, I do look forward to one of my all-time comforts: curling up under a cozy blanket with my pups to a good book and the soothing aromas of pumpkin spice wafting throughout my home. From candles to lotions to the smell of a delicious pumpkin pie baking in the oven, I can't seem to get enough.
I used to make pumpkin butter in my Instant Pot all the time and add it to my yogurt or coffees, but it never got to the consistency I wanted. Tasty, for sure, just never thick enough. So when I got my Thermomix, I found a recipe in the integrated digital cookbook for Pumpkin Butter.
Cookidoo® is probably one of my favourite features of the TM6 because it's the largest digital cookbook in the world and it's build right into the machine, easily accessible via WiFi. Not only that, I can do my weekly meal planning, create my own recipe collections, and create my own shopping list, thanks to such an easy touch screen set up. But, I digress!
Well, this Pumpkin Butter was a clear winner. It was fairly thick and smooth. Most of the butters you find elsewhere are loaded with sugar and they are high in carbs, but not this one. I replaced the regular brown sugar with Sukrin Gold, an all-natural low-calorie alternative to brown sugar with an aroma, sweetness, flavour and texture of brown sugar.
I've been making this aromatic mixture on a weekly basis and keep it in a mason jar for easy access. I love to add a spoonful to my goat milk yogurt, but it has become a regular addition to my morning coffee.
What?!? Pumpkin Spice Americano for a fraction of the cost of going to Starbucks, let alone healthier and tastier? Sign me up!
How to make my Pumpkin Spice Americano
The fact that I can use my Thermomix as a kettle, mixer, food processor and to simmer and thicken foods makes it that much more versatile and magical; and that's not all! I'd love to share more about how this amazing kitchen appliance can rock your world too. Let's chat!
This is me
Just a simple gal living on the West Coast of Canada, sharing her love and passion for food and fitness... and her puppy dogs.