WIAW: Food Rules

Everyone has their own traditions, rituals, and rules surrounding food. Some people are really strict with what they put into their body (i.e. they have a solid plan for all of their meals/snacks), and some people eat whatever speaks to them at whatever time it speaks to them.

For this WIAW I wanted to explore some of the guidelines/rules that I go by and I’ll explain a little bit about why I follow them and how they affect my life.

1. I always eat breakfast. You can bet if I don’t eat breakfast I turn into the grumpiest person on earth + my stomach grumbles the loudest and I end up eating all the food I can get my hands on for the rest of the day. It’s not pretty.

Microwave Oatmeal

2. I always have coffee in the morning. This is probably not the BEST habit in the world, but I limit myself to one coffee mug full and I drink it throughout the morning (and enjoy every drop).

3. I always have a small pre-workout snack. Going from breakfast at 7am to my work-out at 12pm is too long for me to go without eating so I try and have a snack before I hit the gym – but not too close or I end up burping banana during my class #notfun

Banana

4. I always have a post-work out snack.¬†This is even more important on days when I can’t get to my lunch right after the gym. In that case I have a snack to tide me over. (eek sorry for the blur, I was literally running from gym –> meeting)IMG_2888

5. I (almost) always pack my own lunch. It saves so much money and time, plus I know exactly what’s in it. This particular days’ lunch was some magnificent Thanksgiving leftovers.

Thanksgiving Leftovers

6. I pack all the snacks. Super important for long days at school. Packing snacks ensures¬†I won’t go all day without eating and that I won’t spend my money on junky snacks.

Baby Carrots

7. I try to take the time to make some delicious homemade food. Mr A would probably kill me if I tried to bring canned pasta sauce in the house so I’ve embraced making it at home.

Pasta and sauce

8. I REGULARLY enjoy dessert. Because life is too short to skip ice cream.

Vanilla Ice Cream

What food rules do you follow? Do we share any of the same food rules?

How to Grocery Shop Like a Pro

How to Grocery Shop

Grocery shopping can be a daunting task for some people. The thought of walking through the maze that is Superstore, standing in a line that’s a mile long to check out, and navigating the parking lot just to find a spot close enough to see the building is anxiety causing. Never mind the anxiety that comes when the grocery budget is (a lot) smaller than what you wish it was.

Fortunately for me I love grocery shopping, and fortunately for you I’m making it my goal to help you make your shopping trips as painless as possible.

First let’s consider a few things:

1.When can you go grocery shopping? 

I like to shop on Sundays so that I can take everything home and start fresh for the week. Sundays may not work for everyone but it’s important to consider when works for you and make it a routine so you don’t have to hit the store 5 times a week.

2. How many days can you cook this week?

This may seem like an odd question but it’s SO important. ¬†If you have most nights off and plan to cook 5/7 days it’s important to have enough food for the meals you plan on making. Alternatively, if you don’t plan on cooking much, say 2/7 days because you have night class/work/meetings etc, you might not want to buy as much because you likely won’t be using it.

This leads into the next question…

3. Will you be meal prepping in advance?

It’s important to know this because if¬†you plan on meal prepping on one specific day¬†you’ll ideally want to shop pretty close to (or on) this day. This way¬†the meals you are prepping are as fresh as possible.

OK! Now that you’ve been thinking about your week let’s move on to the next step:

Make a grocery list!

I know you’ve heard this one before. To be honest, Mr A and I don’t use grocery lists anymore because we basically buy the same things over again. Sometimes if we run out of particular herbs or something I might write it down, but it’s pretty rare. If you’re just getting used to doing regular grocery shopping lists, or you’re shopping for a family, a list is an indispensable tool.

When deciding on groceries I keep a few things in mind: 

What veggies¬†do you want to eat this week for dinner – our go-to’s right now are swiss chard, kale, squash, and salads – and we don’t buy too many or they will go to waste.

We cook all of our dinner meals in duplicate so we have left overs for lunches, but think about how many meals you want to get out of each cooking session. For example, if salmon is on the menu for dinner we cook 4 pieces instead of 2.

Having breakfast staples in the house is a must. I always have oats and bananas for my breakfast and Mr A needs cereal for his.

While on the topic of staples…pantry/fridge staples are also a must! This could include spices and herbs and also things like canned tuna, dried beans, eggs, and your favourite milk.

Now you’re ready to hit the store! Make sure to buy only what you need and keep your kitchen stocked with staples!

Putting a minimal amount of thought into your weekly grocery shop can save you time and money, and also ensure that you always have a kitchen full of ingredients that can be easily turned into awesome meals.

How do you do your grocery shopping? Do you even like grocery shopping or is it something you put up with?

Easy Quinoa Salad

Quinoa is such an easy grain to work with once you’ve mastered it’s cooking method. I’ve learned (the hard way) how to properly cook it¬†to ensure it doesn’t go soggy. The trick my friends is to use a one-to-one ratio when cooking the quinoa.

But won’t that lead to undercooked quinoa?

No sir it won’t! If you don’t believe me, try it yourself!

Quinoa Salad

Quinoa¬†salad is my go-to when I’m asked to bring something to a potluck, when Mr A and I go camping, or when I know I have a busy week and I want a no-fuss dish in the fridge. The best part about it is you can make changes depending on your likes/what you have in the fridge. Not feelin’ tomatoes this week? No problem, sub them for some red pepper and you’re set! Now on with the show.

Easy Quinoa Salad

Ingredients:

1 Cup Uncooked Quinoa
1 Cup Water
1 Can No Salt Added Black Beans, drained and rinsed
1 Medium Red Onion (more or less depending on your taste)
1/2 English Cucumber
1 pint Baby Tomatoes
Handful of large leaf (Italian) parsley
Lemon Juice
Olive Oil
White wine vinegar
Salt and Pepper to taste
Cumin 

1. Start by cooking the quinoa. This can be done in advance, in fact it’s probably better done in advance so you can be sure it’s cooled down by the time you make the salad. Add your water, quinoa, and a pinch of kosher salt to a pot and cook over medium-high heat, stirring often, until there is no water left in the pot (10-15 minutes).

** to quick cool the quinoa spread it out onto a baking dish or into a large bowl stirring every 5 minutes or so. If you have fridge/freezer room use that to your advantage, it will speed up the process.

2. Chop up your veggies: dice the onion and cucumber (and anything else you want to add) and slice the baby tomatoes in half.

3. Prepare the parsley: Cut the parsley chiffonade (roll the leaves into a tube and slice them). You can leave the pieces this size or cut them smaller if you prefer.

4. Once the quinoa has cooled add it to a large bowl along with the veggies, parsley and black beans.

5. To prepare the dressing add about 3tbsp of olive oil (I never measure), 1 tbsp of white wine vinegar, and 1 tbsp of lemon juice directly to the salad. You can also sprinkle with some cumin (1/2 tsp) and some salt and pepper to taste.

6. Give it a good mix and allow to sit for at least an hour to let all the flavours combine. Store in the fridge until serving.

* Can also use garbanzo beans (chickpeas)

**This baby tastes the best after 24 hours in the fridge after the flavours truly combine but waiting this long never works well for the tomatoes so I usually keep the leftovers just for me.

Quinoa Salad

What’s your favourite type of salad? What’s your favourite addition to quinoa salads?

Nuburger

Last¬†weekend Mr. A and I ventured out to Nuburger for some dinner before we headed off to our show. We’ve eaten here before,¬†a few months back, and it was fantastic – this time did not disappoint either.

Nuburger uses 100% Manitoba beef, chicken, and bison and they obtain it all from local farms #eatlocal

They go by three simple words: Healthy Gourmet Awesome

Eating local is something I can get behind because it supports local farmers and our local economy. Plus if you really wanted, you could call up the farmer¬†and ask any question you ever wanted to know about Brian before you ate your burger. And if¬†you really need¬†another¬†reason to eat local…. the food tastes 1000% better.

Nuburger

On this particular occasion Mr. A went for the Blue and Gold Burger on a multigrain bun Рit had blue cheese, tomato, lettuce, balsamic onion, and chipotle, but he failed at capturing a photo of it. Fortunately I did snap a pic of Shrek Рthe toy they used to identify our order Рfor your entertainment. Did anyone else hate this movie as a kid?

Nuburger2

I played it simple with a¬†delicious n’ tasty cheddar burger on a multigrain bun- Bothwell cheese, lettuce, tomato, herb mayo, and it was fantastic. Seriously it tasted like a real burger should. I was so satisfied with it I nearly ate the whole thing – a rarity for me because I eat like a bird.

Nuburger3

All of the food was outstanding. You could really tell they used quality ingredients – the burgers just tasted like real burgers (+ the Bothwell cheese was to die for).

If you’re ever in Winnipeg I (we) recommend this place 100%. You will not be disappointed.

Have you ever been to Nuburger? What does your all-time favourite burger look like?

Friday Favourites + Weekly Reads

Happy Friday! These posts are my absolute favourite because I get to share my favourite moments from the week. Some times they’re not all that interesting, but it is a fun way to remember even the smallest of details that might otherwise be forgotten.

Like every other, this week blew by and I spent much of it working and cooking. I made quite a few goodies this week including some curry roasted carrots + peanut sauce, Vegetable and Bean Burgers via Meghan Telpner’s Book: Undiet, and Baked Apple Cinnamon Oat Bars. Most of it turned out well but next time I’m going to try making the oat bars in a bigger pan because they turned out a bit underdone in the middle.

That’s enough about that, I promised little to no food in these. Now on with the favourites!

Sherlock. We finished season 2 on Netflix this week. Wow it’s a good show. If you’re not familiar, go familiarize yourself right now. Yes we eat at the coffee table while we watch it. #noshame

Dinner and SherlockBeautiful Fall Weather. It’s been so nice here as of late, it’s hard to believe it’s the end of October. We usually have some sight of snow by Halloween, but I hope this weather keeps up. So nice to have a real fall for once.

Think Like a Freak. I’ve absolutely devoured this book. I usually only have time to read when I’m on the bus to/from school so I’m pretty impressed that I’m about a third of the way done this bad boy and I only started it on Wednesday. Who knew economics could be so exciting?

Voting in my first civic election. ¬†Wednesday was exciting in our house because the city elected a new mayor. This was the first time I could vote in a city election because there hasn’t been one since I first moved to the city. It was an interesting experience (so many people, so many lines) and I so happy to participate. Wednesday was also the day of the tragedy in Ottawa, and that really reminded me of how much a privilege it is to live in a democratic country.

Bratwursts from local Berkshire Pork.¬†(From Crampton’s)¬†One word: amazing.

Weekly Reads:

five-things-friday

What do you have lined up for the weekend? What were your favourite reads this week?

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WIAW: All the Thanksgivings!

Yes, I said ‘all,’ that is because I had three Thanksgivings this year. I am proud to report that I survived them all! No way, I actually had 4… I forgot to include the one I hosted! It’s been a rough week.

I’m going to give you a quick snapshot into my Thanksgiving’s this year, complete with what I brought to the table (literally).

Thanksgiving #1

Where: My Sister’s

What was served: Chicken, Turkey, Scalloped Potatoes, Dinner Rolls, Spaghetti Squash, Quinoa Salad, Spinach Salad with Boursin and crackers as an appetizer and apple and pumpkin pie for dessert.

Our contribution: Quinoa salad, requested by my sister + a box of wine

The verdict: Amazing food, amazing family. I helped my sister take the spaghetti squash to a new level by sautéing it with some onions and garlic before we served it, it was a nice bonding experience.

Thanksgiving #2

Where: Mr. A’s Sister’s

What was served: Assorted appetizers, Ham, lasagne, peas sautéed with onions and sun dried tomatoes, stuffed peppers, Waldorf Salad, Mixed Greens Salad, potatoes, and cheesecake for dessert.

Our contribution:¬†Mr. A NEEDED to make a Waldorf Salad for this occasion, so he made one and I made a mixed greens salad + a bottle of wine (I see a trend of salads and wine…)

The verdict: AMAZING food. I have a new love for sun dried tomatoes. The homemade cheesecake was to die for.

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving #3

Where: Our house!

What was served: Potluck style with a Boursin appetizer cheese, Ham, roasted potatoes, 2 different mixed greens salads, lentil shepherds pie, quinoa salad, and an after dinner brie. For dessert: pumpkin truffles, apple crisp, and pumpkin spice cake.

Our contribution: We made a ham!! + quinoa salad and pumpkin spice cake + box of wine, of course

The verdict: We ate well. The after dinner brie made the evening.

Boxed Wine

Brie

Thanksgiving #4

Where:¬†My mom’s

What was served:Turkey, perogies, cabbage rolls, mashed potatoes, gravy, carrots, rice, prune, and apple stuffing, asian salad, Boursin + pickle tray for appetizers, and a trifle and pumpkin pie for dessert.

Our contribution:I helped my mom make nearly everything and we started prep on Saturday. We also brought a bottle of wine (of course..)

The verdict: So. Much. Food. It was amazing and so were the leftovers for lunch – which was basically everything topped with a copious amount of gravy.

Thanksgiving Dinner

Trifle

Big thanks to Jenn for hosting this weeks WIAW!

WIAW

How many Thanksgivings do you usually have? For all my American friends: are you looking forward to your Thanksgiving coming up?

How to Drink More Water

Drink More Water

I am 110% guilty of going a whole day without drinking anything but my morning coffee. Food has water in it too but drinking enough so that you actually go to the washroom is probably a necessity for a healthy body. #justsayin

Seeing as this issue bothers me a little and I can’t quite seem to get by with the system I use, I decided to look into some creative ways to encourage myself to drink more water throughout the day. If you struggle in this area too try what works best for you and let me know in the comments how you did!

1. Carry a bottle with you where ever you go

If you don’t have it with you, you won’t drink it. Also… if you’re anything like me you’ll refuse to buy bottled water because that’s no-good for the planet. So, PLAN IT in advance (ha!), and bring a bottle when you leave the house. As a side note it’s super annoying when you go somewhere and they don’t have any water fountains so I always try to fill mine when I see one.

2. Add things to it!

I’m not talking about that weird no-calorie stuff you squirt in (although I suppose that would work too), I’m talking about plant-based add-ins! We also used this tactic to get the kids in our after school program to drink more water. All we had to do was add fruit or mint and they drank all the water (and ate all the lemons)! My favourite combinations are:

Lime or Lemon + Mint

Lemon + Cucumber

Oranges

Plain ole’ lemon (my absolute fav)

3. Track it 

There are two ways to do this 1. Use an app or 2. Old school pen and paper.

There are about 1404 apps out there to help track you water intake, unfortunately they don’t work for me because I find them too tedious (I’m also awful with technology..) but some people love the challenge of monitoring and tracking up their cups of H20. Some trendy ones right now are: Watterlogged¬†and¬†Waterminder,

Pen and paper is pretty self explanatory – I would use a small journal or notebook and keep it in my backpack or purse.

4. Keep a pitcher in your fridge 

There are plenty of filter options but we use a Brita in our house. I’ve also just filled a pitcher with water and lemons or limes for some infused¬†water and kept it in the fridge. If you go with this method be sure to drink it soon because it might start picking up some funky fridge tastes. I’m more likely to drink if it’s in the fridge, rather than tap water because I like my water realllly cold.

5. Use general awareness

Chances are if you’re thinking about water more often you’ll drink more of it. Most of the ideas above just make you more aware of it but there are also other ways like using sticky notes, phone reminders, heck you could put up a picture on your desk of a nice tall drink¬†of water, drinking a glass of water…gotcha!

Ok, brb going to have a glass of lemon water…

How do you make sure you get enough water? Have you tried any of these methods?

If you like reading about my adventures in drinking water..head on over to my older post.