10.20.2014

Why You Should Run Unplugged

It's Sunday morning and you're completely unprepared for your run; searching the house for your shoes, headband, gloves and don't forget your iPod.  And then disaster strikes...

You find your favorite musical companion in your drawer - DEAD. There's no time to wait for it to charge, you've gotta get out of the house before the kids cause a mutiny or before you lose your nerve and stay home.  I think my exact words might have been "Fuck it." when I realized my iPod was dead and I was going to have to go out for my run in silence.  But I stormed out in a huff and hit the road anyway.  After my 8k run I cam to the conclusion that I should run unplugged on a regular basis.

Why, you ask?

Well, there's a few things I learned while out in quiet yesterday:
  • Running without music allows you toe notice and appreciate your surroundings more; the smell of leaves, the sound of the birds and the farmer's fields glowing in the sunlight.
  • A quiet run brings focus to your breathing and pace that might otherwise be drowned out by your favorite dance music. 
  • No music forces YOU to be the driving force of your run. There's no catchy tune to keep you boppin' down the road; just you, your body and your mind. After all, running is a mind game, right?
Yes, there were a few times that I was cursing my dead iPod and wanted to turn around and go home.  But I sucked it up and kept going.  My pace was slower than usual, but in hindsight that's probably exactly what I needed given I had slacked off for a week and was getting over a cold.

Look Ma - no ear buds!
The highlight of my unplugged run was near the end of my route.  I was running down a country road admiring the changing leaves and rolling hills when I heard a crack in the woods beside me.  I paused for a moment expecting to see a rabbit or squirrel jump out in front of me.  I couldn't believe what happened next.  There, just a few feet in front of me, emerged a gorgeous Buck - antlers and everything , from the forest.  I held my breath, trying to take a mental picture of this beautiful animal.  And just like that, he was gone. I'm guessing he caught wind of my smelly running clothes and ran right back into the woods.  That experience alone was worth ditching my iPod.  Had I been listening to music I would have missed that twig snapping and I would have run right past him, never even knowing he was there.

Have you tried running unplugged? Love it or hate it? I think I'm going to incorporate it more into my routine. Not all the time of course....that would just be ridiculous!  But at least a few times a month and hopefully I'll get a few more amazing memories.

10.16.2014

Apple Pumpkin Muffins #Glutenfree #Vegan #Recipe

Nothing says Autumn like Apples & Pumpkins.  Get the best of both in this surprisingly fluffy & delicious Apple Pumpkin Muffin recipe.  Oh, and did I mention it's also gluten-free & vegan!

Apple Pumpkin Muffins
Ingredients:
  • 2/3 cup of oil (I used a combination of Coconut Oil & Red Palm Oil)
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1/3 cup of maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup Non-Dairy Milk (I used Hemp Milk)
  • 3 tsp Vanilla
  • 2 1/2 cup Gluten-free All-Purpose flour (my go-to is Cloud 9's baking mix)
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 tsp Xanthan Gum (could be omitted if you desire)
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 2 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • 2 tsp Ground Flax (optional)
  • 1/3 cup Hemp Hearts (optional)
  • 1 cup Pumpkin puree (not pie filling. I used my own homemade pumpkin sauce)
  • 1 1/2 cup Apple Sauce (again, my homemade stuff was perfect)
  • 1 cup Raisins (or substitute nuts, chocolate chips or whatever else you like)
Instructions: 
Recipe makes 24 muffins.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line two muffin tins with muffin liners.  If you are using a hard oil like coconut oil or butter, make sure to melt it first. Tip: I use my preheating oven to melt my oil while I get the rest of the ingredients together.

Mix all your wet ingredients and sugar together in a large bowl. That would be your oil, sugar, maple syrup, milk, vanilla and apple & pumpkin sauces.  In a separate bowl sift together all your dry ingredients except the raisins. Then mix your dry into your wet until just mixed.  Then stir in your raisins ( or whatever you are using) until evenly distributed in your batter.

Then fill your muffin cups about 2/3 of the way full and pop into the oven for 20-24 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Mine took exactly 20 minutes to bake so just keep an eye on them.  Let cool for 5 minutes in the tin and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

These Apple Pumpkin Muffins are a cinch to make and taste incredible.  They are moist and fluffy and no one would ever guess they were gluten-free & vegan.  These muffins are kid approved and by avoiding nut-milks they are a perfect addition to your kid's lunch box.

Now off to stand guard by my muffins...not sure that they will last until tomorrow in this house!
  

10.14.2014

Thanksgiving Leftovers: 10 Tasty Ways

The house is empty, the feast is finished and the dishes are done.  Now what to do with all that leftover Thanksgiving turkey?  I do enjoy some great leftovers, but I get bored of the same old stuff pretty quickly.  So I've rounded up some delicious, exciting and maybe even good-for-you recipes to help use up all those lovely turkey leftovers.  Enjoy!


Turkey Leftovers - 10 Tasty Ways
  1.  Turkey Tettrazini
  2. Turkey Pot Pie 
  3. Thanksgiving Leftover Waffle Melt
  4. Turkey Yellow Curry
  5. Sweet Potato & Kale Turkey Chili
  6. Butternut Hash with Leeks & Turkey
  7. Bacon Kale & Turkey Stew
  8. Thanksgiving Leftover Sandwich
  9. Turkey Prosciutto Pizza
  10. Baked Tortellini with Turkey & Butternut Squash

What's your favourite way to use up all those yummy leftovers?

 

10.10.2014

Thrifty Thanksgiving Decor #Frugal #Edible

Short on time? Short on money? But want to get into that Harvest spirit? 

Don't worry, I got you covered.  I've been entirely too busy to realize that it's Thanksgiving this weekend and Halloween is just a couple weeks away.  I've always been a huge sucker for Harvest decor but I find some of the items in stores are completely over priced and to be honest, I don't really feel that plastic really gives that Autumn feel.  So today in just a few minutes I whipped up some cute and thrifty Thanksgiving decor for the homestead using lots of items from my garden and some of my squash from the farm just up the road. 

First up is the end of the driveway.  I simply moved my mum & urn into the garden and added some more grasses.  Then I grabbed an old broken chair from the garage, added more awesome squash and pumpkins and voila! Cute and cost effective!


And then of course was the front door.  This corner showcases the last of my pumpkins and squash.  I repurposed one of my summer lanterns and filled it with little gourds.  Added some grass and twigs from the garden and that was it.  Quick, simple and very harvesty!
 

I love using natural materials and recycled items for my decor ideas.  The best part about these festive decorations is that all the squash and pumpkins are edible.  So there will be lots of yummy eats in the coming months.  Plus, I'm planning to save the seeds and hopefully get some of these wicked pumpkins to sprout in my backyard.  Decor....dinner....and food for next year, now that's thrifty!

What are your favourite items for Autumn decorating?


10.09.2014

Sober October: Week 1 Recap

Well, it's been 1 week, actually 8 days if you're counting since my husband and I started Sober October.  And yes, we're still dry!  It's kind of funny...everyone we have told about Sober October looks at us like we have 3 heads and inevitably questions why on earth would we do that?!

 photo credit: pam's pics- via photopin cc

Why not I say! Now we're not huge boozers, but we both like a drink after a long day or on the weekend.  But we realized that the growing pile of empties and our expanding waistlines weren't best things for us.  And not to mention the money that we were spending on a bottle of wine or a couple beers!

So Sober October is here!  And yes, this first week has been difficult.  There's nothing quite like getting that Facebook notification for Amos's birthday (he died last year) and having a teary-eyed conversation with his widow on what would have been his 35th birthday.  Add in busy work schedules, crazy kids and trying to study for school.  Ya, I SOOO would have loved a glass of wine or 5 this week!  But I stayed strong and so did my hubby!

Now we've got our big family Thanksgiving feast this Sunday and  I'm sure my family will give us the 3-headed look when we turn down a glass of wine.  Oh well, that just means more room for pie!

Is there anything you've given up? Were you able to stick to your goal?

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