Grouch-Fading Gems

First Off: I survived my coffee-free week without a hitch and since the weekend hit I’ve had only two half cups of coffee. I think I’m going to continue this trend of keeping tea as my main hot beverage and coffee on the less-than-reg. Until I get bored of waiting for the tea kettle. Coffee is usually more convenient because the pot is always just sitting there, brewed and ready to go (Thanks Mom). So I may not be able to ignore that rich black brew in the corner all the time. But I’ve been doing well at averting my eyes this week, no blinders needed.

This was my first half cup of the weekend. Coffee + carrot cake. It was a necessary (and incredible) combo. And just for your future knowledge, Costco makes an insanely good carrot cake (that would be the one in the picture). If you ever need to buy a carrot cake… you know where to go.

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The Grouch: I wasn’t going to blog tonight because, to be honest, this weekend has been pretty disappointing in a few ways and though I’m doing my best not to let small, irrelevant things get to me and especially not to complain about them… they have and I’m feeling kinda crummy and let down left, right and centre. So I’m just going with it instead of pushing it away. I know tomorrow’s a new day and a new week so I’m going to revel in my ‘leave me alone’ mood tonight and let it go just in time for Love Day tomorrow…or in that case I might end up extra grouchy. We’ll find out in the morning!

So instead of sparing you my grouchiness, I’m choosing to throw it out there and then match it with a few small gems of the weekend, the things I can count on and that help to fade the grouchies.

 

Weekend Gems

My Family – They listen to my rants and rambles and put up with my grouching and they still talk to me. They even get me flowers! (Thanks Dad)

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Costco – I never fail to be excited coming home with a Costco haul. But Friday’s had to be one of the most exciting yet because my Costco here finally has… GREEK YOGURT!

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The Products = Frozen raspberries, Kirkland Signature by Nature’s Path Organic Ancient Grains Granola with Almonds (I’ve been keeping my eye out for this one after seeing it popping up everywhere in blogland. Yes!), Liberte Greek Yogourt 0% plain 2-pack, Liberte Greek Yogourt 0% 12-pack flavoured (blueberry, strawberry, mulberry), canned tuna 6-pack, Fontaine Sante hummus 2-pack (my favourite)

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The Produce = blueberries, spinach, baby carrots, bananas, cucumbers, snap peas, cherry tomatoes (Costco has the best cherry tomatoes)

The Greek yogurt in action:

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Sushi – It may be from the grocery store but it’s still gold.

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Valentine’s Themed Goodies <3 Like Lovified Peanut Butter Pretzel Bites.

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I followed the recipe except for the addition of red food colouring to the filling and a heart candy topper.

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Hair Curls – Hair flat, greasy or just generally uncooperative? Hide the mop with a few curls and you’re good to go. Or you could go the ‘I’m hiding the fact that my hair looks like crap behind a ridiculously large grin’ route, it’s faster and easier on your locks. I chose the curling iron.

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Fresh Journals – Especially if they have cushy covers and silver-edged pages. There’s something so satisfying about flipping through a brand new notebook. Perfect for jotting down and getting rid of all those crummy thoughts in your head. And even better for the cheery ones.

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I’m feeling a little better already. I think the rockin’ tunes going on on the Grammy’s behind me are helping too. That and watching my lovely Valentine Red nails typing on the keys. Simple pleasures.

Happy (early) Valentine’s Day <3
Any special plans with significant others, or even friends or the fam jam? Tell me how you’re spreading your love tomorrow so I can live vicariously through you while sitting in class all evening learning about health psychology. Holla!

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Where’s My Coffee?

I haven’t drank any coffee since last Wednesday. I got sick, during which I definitely wasn’t feeling it for a couple days, and then I just decided to… continue not drinking it.

Why? I don’t really know to be honest. I like my coffee. I drink it every morning with breakfast. Sometimes 2 cups. Sometimes for a pick me up in the afternoon. But definitely every day. This is the first non-coffee stretch in a long time. I suffered through the withdrawal headaches while I was already sick and definitely not planning on drinking it anyway so I figured I’d try sticking it out a little longer and see how it went.

I’m drinking TEA now instead.

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I used to drink tea a lot. And then I jumped off the bandwagon and started having tea only once in a blue moon. Hello crazy? Tea is great. And my brother has started up on this kick where he’s chugging green tea like it’s water. Um hello, if my brother is beating me in the smart drink choice department then something is wrong here. So I’ve jumped back on to the tea bandwagon and I’m proud of it. Go tea.

I’ll admit I have felt a bit more perma-tired these past several coffeeless days. But it’s a much more stable state of tired without the highs and lows. And I’ve noticed much less of a midafternoon crash, which is kinda nice.

However, I am NOT giving up coffee. This is rather an attempt to:
– See if I can go a week without it – I’m aiming for the weekend. I may have a cup by Saturday. If I’m feeling it!
– See if I can reduce my coffee consumption in general – It has just become routine and that’s alright but I do drink a fair amount and wouldn’t mind reducing that a bit and relying on it less for overall energy.
– Drink more TEA. I’ve been wanting to bring tea back into my life on the regular for a while. This has been the perfect way to do it. Hot beverages are very necessary in the winter. So tea it it!
– See what kind of effects coffee actually has on my body – I want to see if I can notice any other differences by the end of the week. If I see significant energy level differences I may do my best to keep coffee to a much less often habit.

But I still <3 my coffee. And I don’t want to give it up. Just switch it up a bit, ya know?

 

And what shall I alongside my tea chugging sessions?

Orange slices and green smoothies?

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Mmm I was thinking more along the lines of Averie’s Girl Scout “Samoas” Cookies.

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These are crazy tasty! Mine weren’t quite the same since I didn’t dehydrate the base (dehydrator? what?) and I just used plain old peanut butter in the topping. Oh and I made them fake with sugar free maple syrup. Shhh. But still. Decadent.

Or maybe some Fudgy Black Bean Brownie Cake.

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I had a small amount of leftover black beans hanging out in the fridge and I remembered seeing past recipes for black bean brownies. So I glanced over a few, browsed through my food supply and came up with this mini cake.

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Fudgy Black Bean Brownie Cake
– 4 oz black beans, drained and rinsed
– 2 T egg whites
– 1/4 cup fat free plain yogurt
– 1 T white chocolate sugar free syrup (or whatever sweetener you prefer)
– 1 T cocoa
– 1/2 tsp cinnamon
– 1/2 tsp vanilla
– 1/4 cup instant oats

Blend all except the oats in a blender, then stir in the oats. Bake at 350 for ~30 minutes in a small tin cake pan.

ICING
– 2 T light cream cheese
– 1/2 T white chocolate sugar free syrup
– 1 tsp lemon juice
– 1 tsp agave

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I just found and quickly nabbed this sugar free syrup the other day at Winners (my shopping haven for pretty much everything). It’s White Chocolate, I just couldn’t pass it up. It is what went into my brownies.

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Now I am pretty exhausted and about ready for bed. I think this is more due to the fact that it’s getting late and I was up earlier than I had planned (thanks mom for loudly and joyfully humming tunes at 7:15 AM) than because I’m missing my coffee fix. Just saying.

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What is your relationship with coffee? Are you a daily drinker? How much do you drink? Do you have to have it before you come into contact with society/do you bite heads off without it? Oh and how do you take your coffee? 90% of the time mine is black.

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Goals, Goodies and Glasses

Thanks for the Balance. feedback It’s good to know I’m not alone in feeling out of whack and all over the place sometimes. Sometimes you just sit there and wonder, “Am I going crazy?”, you know? But life is like that, it moves flows and dips and stands still and changes and keeps on keeping on and all the while you have to shift and adjust to keep up with all of this. All of your views on keeping balance are so darn smart :)

 

One thing in particular,  brought up by Melissa, that I haven’t thought about much lately is Happy Goals. I’ve never been very strong at goal setting (I think a large part of that is that whole fear of failure deal) and I don’t often make them. When I have set them the past, they really do help me to be diligent at working towards what it is that I’m aiming for, but I have a hard time setting them in the first place:
A) Half the time I can’t think of what goals I want to set. A silly reason as goals can be anything but I have trouble with this a lot of the time.
B) Failure fear. If I don’t try, I can’t fail. Horrible mentality. Need to kick that one to the curb asap.
C) Because it’s not something I’ve done regularly, I don’t even think about goal setting 90% of the time. I forget to do it and I forget how helpful it is. I guess I need to write myself reminders – SET GOALS.

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So in conclusion? I think I need some goals. I think I need things to work towards. It’s hard to think about what you want to accomplish when you are stuck and rutted and really don’t have a clue what you want. But a new month is coming, and a new school year is coming, and thus the perfect conditions are a brewin’ for some new goals (no matter how big or small) to be set.

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I can’t be contemplative and brooding all the time though, it’s tiring! So let’s take a look at what else has been going on in my household over the past few days.

 

Got rhubarb? We did. Well then what else is there to do than make Strawberry Rhubarb Bars?

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Actually there was probably many other things I could have done. I also made rhubarb sauce (just rhubarb, sugar and water boiled down) with the leftover rhubarb which was stellar. Much moreso than this dish, which was slightly disappointing. It was good…ish. But not nearly as good as I thought it would be. Not one for the recipe binder anyway.

 

And since granola has now become a necessity in this household since my mom is now loving it (much to my despair… move over Cookie Monster, here here the GRANOLA Monster has been born… I can’t keep away from it!) a fresh batch was born this weekend.

Cherry Almond Granola -became —> Cranberry Raisin Peanut Granola 

I used dried cranberries, raisins, chopped peanuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, a few chopped cashews and a few pine nuts. I used safflower oil and everything else stayed the same.

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We should probably also talk about this 5 Minute Blueberry Banana “Ice Cream” I stumbled upon and just had to make this morning. I only had a wee bit of cottage cheese left and bloobs that were unfrozen, but this was still pretty bomb. Why have I never blended cottage cheese and frozen banana before? Genius!

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Still on the topic of blended treats, what do you do when you have a huge badonk watermelon cut up in a container in your fridge that’s swimming in a pool of hunky chunky watermelon juice?

You freeze the juice. Later on you slightly defrost said juice, throw the now slush into a blender along with a splash of almond milk, a splash of lime juice and a dash of vanilla protein powder and you soon will have birthed a crazy refreshing watermelon delight. Topped with homemade granola of course.

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I have this habit of eating cold chunks of banana straight out of the fridge dipped in peanut butter. It’s amaze. So instead of just eating it mindlessly as per usual I thought I’d just turn it into breakfast.

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Cold banana + homemade peanut butter + cottage cheese + cinnamon + Kay’s Naturals Honey Almond Protein Cereal

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Num.

+ morning coffee (duh) + morning face (hello world…)

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Sometimes I eat things that aren’t sweet though, I swear. Though not so much lately… hush hush.

Homemade potato salad made with light buttermilk and dijon mustard?

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Dig in!

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Lettuce leaves and cottage cheese? Dig in…a little less enthusiastically.

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Steamed broccoli, baby carrots and a small sampling of lean ground beef from the fam’s tacos plated for dipping into salsa, hummus and tzaziki. dig dig dig.

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Vegan? No I be not (note the ground beef above…) but I do like me some vegan cookbooks and when I found a recipe for Breakfast Veggie Chorizo using TVP, I knew I had to make it immediately.

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I’ve had a bag of unopened TVP in the cupboard for ages. I never knew what to do with it, had never ever tried it and frankly, I just ended up forgetting about it. So glad the Veggie Chorizo recipe revived my memory. The main players are onion, a variety of spices (many of which I didn’t have, hello improvision), TVP and tomato paste.

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My first bite of TVP was… weird. But weird as in interesting, intriguing, give me a few more bites and a few more and wow this stuff is pretty awesome! And then my mom tried it… and loved it! Literally she sat there eating it while exclaiming “I love this!” with a slightly shocked yet overjoyed expression. Who would have thought, my mom loving some crazy faux meat substitute. Fist pump!

Vegan with a Vengeance is clearly a winner. Now which recipe shall I try next??

So much food. So uh, none food excitement of the day:

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New lenses! Cha ching! (?)

I’m not blind so I usually either don’t wear anything at all or wear contacts if I think I’m going to need to actually see stuff (Like in lectures. Or at the bar…). I use glasses once in a while but mine were 6 years old. Just a tad outdated.

Now that I got my new shades (without the shade…) clearly I’m soon to become a true braniac. I forsee my IQ jumping 30 pts within a week’s worth of wear.

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Pimpin.

Almost as pimpin as these they-pop-in-your-mouth grapes that we just picked up tonight. Pleasing.

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Do you set goals regularly? What are your current goals? Tell me all of them!
I think, to start off, my newest goal shall be… to set some goals ;)

What I do in between bouts of essay writing…

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  • Make and drink mass amounts of coffee. Okay scratch the make and just go with the drink. My mom makes the coffee. Hey, she gets up the earliest! And my recent attempt at making a pot of coffee all by myself resulted in the most watered down weak pot of sludge I’ve ever tasted. Only I could screw up a pot of coffee.

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Consumption involves both the black hole hot and the foamy iced versions. Less emphasis on the ice kind since the weather’s chilly and they’re chilly and thus that makes me chilly and I’m not really down with that. Except when I’m really feeling an iced coffee, then I suck it up and put an extra sweater on.

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  • Make and eat slightly less mass amounts of Maple Apple Butter. With apple peach juice instead of cider because that’s all that was in my fridge. I was being resourceful!

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  • Make and eat mass amounts of vegetables (and wraps…and pieces of plain tofu with BBQ sauce…)

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  • And continue with the veg trend by making and eating mass amounts of steamed broccoli topped with marinara mixed with…What’s that? Hummus? Oh yes. Marinara + hummus, heated and eated (erm… heaten and eaten? I like to rhyme okay?) in all of its delicious creamy goodness.

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  • Paint my nails in hot pink shades.

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  • Make and eat awesome breakfasts that all involve pumpkin.
    Sometimes mixed with yogurt, Weetabix and frozen blueberries

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Sometimes mixed with yogurt, clems, banana, fresh blueberries and topped with a frozen Pumpkin Pie Baby (Make them. Freeze them. Love them.)

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And sometimes mixed with oats and egg whites to make a pumpkin oatmeal pancake that gets topped with jam, vanilla yogurt mixed with peanut butter, bananas and blueberries and makes for one happy tummy.

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  • Scarf down random “I don’t feel like writing so instead I’ll eat (and I might be a little hungry too)” snacks

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  • Feel a lot of numb bum from sitting for long periods of time trying to make coherent and sensical words happen on my word documents.
  • Take brisk night walks, sprint to jiving tunes on the treadmill and kick numb bum’s butt with some Tae bo action in order to get some movement in my day during this school-induced stationary period of time
  • And within all of that a bit of essay writing gets done. Here and there, you know…

I feel like I’ve made some progress so right now I’m chillaxin, but exams start next week and with all of the midterms, essays and assignments I’ve had constantly coming up in the last while, I haven’t cracked a textbook in ages. Meaning the relief I get from handing in my three essays this week is going to be immediately replaced by mass amount of stress and grief as I try to frantically cram studying for my three biggest exams that fall within the first three days of the exam period (Dec 10-12) into hardly one full week of time. Not so pumped.

Anywho, I think it’s time for some shut eye before another new week begins. Woop de joy. Let’s hope for a good and productive one!